Hirosada, Nakamura Utaemon IV as Matsuemon

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864) Nakamura Utaemon IV as Matsuemon in Act 6 of Seisuiki, 1851. Deluxe Chuban Triptych.

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Another overwhelming nocturne, the colours, textures and designs crackle and sparkle. The print hovers somewhere between a scene that we wish to believe in… a stylised reality and a drama, an artifice, with flat painted backdrops as a stylised sea and a cut out pine-tree held up with props. This is part of the great genius of this artist, his work hovers between realities and yet their ‘realism’ is so daringly emphasised, with those slabs of saturated colours and those devilish patterns and shapes. Like Shakespeare in enamels, this masterpiece is art, design and theatre in one exquisite object.

On the right, we see the familiar figure of Matsuemon, and in the centre, the soon to be beheaded grandson of the old boatman. The plot is immensely long and as usual, kabuki21 has a fine summary.

I think this brilliant print has everything I like best about Japanese prints, but especially those lush waves, that sparkling blue and the great beauty of the old look-out pine. This is Japanese art at its very best. Three separate sheets, colour, condition and impression are all very fine.

54 x 25 cm.