Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Ichikawa Omezo and Otani Oniji II
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 Ichikawa Omezo and Otani Oniji II in a scene from "Nihonmatsu Michinoku Sodachi," a play about the troubles of the Date Clan in the 17th century. Omezo portrays the wrestler Ikazuchi Tsurunosuke and Oniji II plays the faithful samurai Ukiyo Tohei, disguised as a bad man to spy among the Date's enemies. The wrestler leans on one knee, twisting his torso around as he reaches to draw his sword. His companion stands with his back to the viewer, his kimono tucked up at the waist, glaring over his shoulder. An interesting composition with the almost motionless standing figure contrasting with the action of the kneeling man. Nicely detailed with a distressed mica background.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15 1/4" x 10 1/4"
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Good overall.