Who Was Kitagawa Utamaro?

Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 - 1806) was a preeminent ukiyo-e artist of the Edo (modern-day Tokyo) period (1603 - 1868). His iconic depictions of courtesans, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, and beautiful women, celebrating the essence of the ukiyo-e genre, which focused on hedonism..

He focused on the upper body of an individual subject in ‘okubi-e’ style. His artwork featured figures drawn with fluid and curved lines, connoting a sense of elegance. His work always dignified women, whether they were mothers or courtesans. Kitagawa Utamaro paintings are characterized by delicate expressions, contourless faces, and subtle features.

Kitagawa Utamaro Artwork Style

In this artwork, Utamaro Kitagawa has used delicate shading and subtle gradations to bestow an ethereal quality to the scene. The subtle differences such as the shape of the eyes or the fullness of their cheeks help in decoding their age and experience.

Three Beauties of the Present Day

Utamaro Kitagawa did not shy away from portraying heterosexual or homosexual sexual relationships across generations. Although it may be bizarre, the sexual relationships between an older man and a younger man were often looked at as a teacher-student relationship.