Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/210

This page has been validated.



We have already seen, in the preceding chapter, how Masanobu, Kiyonobu II., and Kiyomasu, immediately after the invention of the two-colour print, devoted all their powers to its development.

(Tori­) () (Kiyo­) (mitsu)2. The Three-colour Print.—While the method of Masanobu found a propagator in Shigenaga, a follower of the Kiyonobus and Kiyomasu arose in Torii Kiyomitsu, who generally passes as a son of Kiyomasu, but owing to his later appearance in the history of art, is looked upon by Fenollosa rather as the successor, adopted late in life, either of Kiyonobu or Kiyomasu.[1] He lived from 1735 to 1785, and began to work in the early fifties. There are no known hand-coloured sheets by him. As Shigenaga and Toyonobu entered upon the inheritance of Masanobu, so did Kiyomitsu carry on the traditions of the Torii, followed meantime, from 1750 to 1765, like a shadow by Kiyohiro. Kiyomitsu's draughtsmanship is broad, but not always as delicately worked out as that of the ancients. He is noted for the exceptional grace, fulness, and finish of his compositions; his figures are generally long, with small heads and small features; the ample draperies cling close to the bodies.

Like Shigenaga, he cultivated the three-colour print as early as the fifties; in fact, this technique is especially indebted to him for its further development and completion, since the first half of the sixties, at which time he took the lead of all other artists, was his most fertile period. He was the first to give blue a permanent place in the synthesis of colours, so that the treatment of this colour formed a distinctive characteristic of his work. He did not, however, use it pure in the beginning, but shading strongly into grey, and thereby achieved a beautiful gradation of tone, as is shown in an early kakemono-ye[2] repre-
  1. Anderson Cat., p. 341; Fenollosa Cat., Nos. 83, 92, 99, 100, 102, 104-107, 110-112. The dates are taken from the Hayashi Cat.
  2. In Japanese these narrow sheets, which are fastened on the door-posts, are called hashira-kakushi.