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Kitagawa Utamaro

Utamaro started his career as a pupil of the painter Toriyama Seiken. His early known works are portraits of actors and theatre programs. In his 40’s, he started to concentrate on single portraits of women. He took his models from the street and the brothels of the Yoshiwara district and his love affairs became notorious.
In painting his beautiful subjects, he experimented with new techniques to display the flesh tones and soften the lines. His subjects were idealized with tall and slender bodies.
At the end of his life, he was imprisoned for publishing a print of the ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi with his wife and five concubines. The humiliation of his arrest forced him into a deep depression and he died a few years later.

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