Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/190

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JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

the ancestor of the artist family of Nishimura.[1] At first he produced actor prints in the Torii style, then pictures of women after the manner of Kwaigetsudo, and thus gradually broke away from the Torii to found a school of his own. He possessed greater merit as a wood-engraver than as a painter, but his chief title to fame is the artistic training which he gave to his son, Shigenaga, the probable inventor of two-colour printing. A still greater artist was Nishimura Magosaburo. An uncertainty exists as to whether he was a brother of Shigenobu, or perhaps his son; in that case he would be identical with Shigenaga who is said to have styled himself thus, though only in cursive (Gillot Catalogue)

4. Book-Illustration in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century.—Besides the above-named masters, a number of competent but less original artists were active as book-illustrators. After Moronobu had, in the second half of the seventeenth century, brought book-illustration to a height not hitherto attained, and numerous pupils had followed him along this path, the demand for illustrated books (yehons) seems to have relaxed during the period from 1715 to 1735, when the interest of the people was more and more strongly diverted to the theatre, and representations of actors on single-sheet prints were eagerly sought after. But from about the year 1735 onwards, such books once more appear in increasing numbers, in manifest response to an enhanced desire for representations from life, as well as a heightened delight in romantic descriptions. The illustrations were almost uniformly printed in black and white, and very seldom coloured. We must here mention first 西 (Nishi­) (kawa ) (Suke­) (nobu)Nishikawa Sukenobu, a pupil of Yeino Kano Sukenori. He lived from 1674 to 1754, and produced a multitude of illustrated books in the style created by Moronobu. He aimed at giving his readers continuous entertainment in

  1. Fenollosa Cat., No 38; Tokio Cat., p. 32; Hayashi Cat., No. 318 seqq.