Ukiyo-e painters The Art of Nishimura Shigenaga

Ukiyo-e painters: The Art of Nishimura Shigenaga

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Nishimura Shigenaga (c. 1697 – c. 1756) was an ukiyo-e artist who, like his contemporary Okumura Masanobu, is known for having experimented extensively in a variety of modes and subjects. Working primarily in the time of urushi-e (“lacquer prints”) and benizuri-e (“rose prints”), he produced images not only of standard subjects such as beautiful girls, but also of birds and flowers; he experimented with triptychs, ishizuri-e (stone-rubbing prints), and uki-e prints that centered on their use of Western perspective.

Perhaps his most important contribution, however, was in pioneering landscapes as a mode of ukiyo-e images. He was among the first to produce images of figures in a landscape (the vast majority of prints up until then lacking any background or contextual space within which the figures existed), and series of famous places, two modes which would become extremely prominent a generation or two later.

Shigenaga’s stylistic influence can be seen in the work of his pupils, who included Nishimura Shigenobu, Ishikawa Toyonobu, and Suzuki Harunobu.

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