Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/205

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DEVELOPMENT OF COLOUR-PRINTING

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actor-painter, Kiyonobu. For there exist prints by Shigenaga with representations of wild deities which belong entirely to the forceful style of the Torii school. Although, like Masanobu, he took especial delight in the delineation of graceful women, nevertheless he did not disdain to try his hand on actor-pictures as well. The versatility of his talent is further shown by a hand-coloured sheet representing a mandarin duck among iris, on the water's edge (Bing Catalogue, No. 89). It is incorrect to attribute to him, as Anderson does, colour-prints produced with four blocks, and to date this activity as far back as 1716. He began, as all artists hitherto mentioned, with black and white prints. As early as the middle of the fourth decade his style showed a great affinity with that of Masanobu, approaching, however, more closely to the personal peculiarities of the latter than to the broad style handed down from the school of Moronobu. What distinguished him was the striving for individuality, and that in a new, fresh, youthfully sensitive spirit, which he passed on to his pupils also and which gave its stamp to the woodcuts of the great flowering which now began. In this role of mediator between the old and the new art, as well as in his more personal qualities, lies Shigenaga's essential significance. It is sufficient to mention here that Harunobu was his pupil.

The year 1743, as we have seen, forms the one decisive turning-point in his life, as it brought with it the invention of the two-colour print. The beautiful specimen of this process which Anderson gives at the beginning of his Japanese Wood-Engraving, a young girl walking under a sunshade on the bank of a river (signed Senkwado Nish. Shig.), is therefore dated by him much too early (1725). But it proves clearly enough to us how Shigenaga's strength lies in the artistic rendering of a general impression, though Masanobu excels him in precision, beauty, and individuality of drawing. In any case, the invention of the two-colour print was of such revolutionising importance that