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woodblock with kabuki actor from Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1797-1861), 歌川国芳



Print which depicts two kabuki actors, one is Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII as sumo Akitsushima Kuniemon and the other is Nakamura Utaemon IV in the play Sekitori Nidai no shobu zuke (関取二代勝負 de) from September 1832.

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The two actors are:

 Ichikawa Danjūrō ​​VIII (十郎), Hachidaime Ichikawa Danjūrō, born October 5, 1823 in Edo - died January 6, 1854 in Osaka, is an actor of the theatrical genre from the prestigious Ichikawa Danjuro line. His father is the owner of shibai jaya but some said he was a musician and a low caste samurai and his mother is the daughter of star Ichikawa Danjuro V. He specializes in Aragoto style tachiyaku (male roles) like all members of his lineage, but more particularly in those of young lovers which make him extremely popular. In this play he played sumo. 

Nakamura Utaemon IV (右衛門 (4 ), 1798–1852) is a Japanese actor i, a prominent member of a family of kabuki actors from the keihanshin region. He was born in Edo to a poosèdé family. a tea house in the district of Shitaya, his birth name was Kichitaro. At the age of nine, he was adopted by a dance master and began his acting career at the age of 13 by becoming the disciple of Nakamura Utaemon III, he plays the role of Omigatake in this play.

Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1797-1861), 歌川国芳, Son of a silk dyer, he was born in 1797 under the name of Yoshizo. In his youth, he probably assisted his father, providing the designs for the pieces to be dyed, and thus naturally oriented himself towards the world of art. He was accepted as a pupil by Toyokuni Utagawa in 1814. Later, he founded his his own school and his drawings became popular. Famous for his prints of actors and animals (especially cats that he adored), he owes his inspiration above all to legends, to the fantastic, poetic and warrior universe of which we find a strong influence in his work. He is the author of 10,000 prints and several series. The great earthquake of 1855, after which, returning home late, he was given for dead by his family and the members of his workshop, marks the end of his great period. Suffering from illness and depression, he now produces little. He died in Edo in 1861.

height37,5 cm
width25,2 cm
signatureKuniyoshi Utagawa (1797-1861), 歌川国芳
datefévrier 1847
publisherIba-ya Sensaburô
pièceSekitori Nidai no shobu zuke (関取二代勝負付)

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