Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Sakata Hangoro III and Ichikawa Yaozo III
Sharaku - Not much is known about the woodblock print artist Toshusai Sharaku, who specialized in kabuki portraits. His career spanned only ten months from 1794 to 1795, with around 150 prints known. Unlike his contemporaries, Sharaku did not idealize his subjects, instead creating realistic portrayals that were not always flattering, and his prints were not a popular success at the time. His best works convey a rare perceptivity, with a psychological insight and a deep understanding of the dramatic nature of the roles and the actors he depicted. Sharaku left behind a body of masterworks of ukiyo-e kabuki portraiture that remained unrecognized until a century after his death.
Comments - Terrific double portrait of the actors Sakata Hangoro III and Ichikawa Yaozo III in a scene from the play "Keisei Sanbon Karasaka." Hangoro portrays Kosodate-no-Kwannonbo and Yaozo appears as the villainous samurai Fuwa Banzaemon, who has stolen a precious scroll. Banzaemon kneels holding his sword in one hand, his head tilted with a worried expression on his face. He wears a kamishimo patterned with swirling clouds over a solid brown kimono, small wings of hair sprouting from the sides of his head. His companion leans awkwardly to the side, straining his neck. His white under robe is beautifully embossed with a geometric pattern. An intriguing image with a shimmering distressed mica background. A great Sharaku subject rarely seen in reprint form.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 14 1/2" x 9 5/8"
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Good overall.