Toyokuni III's Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido - Toyokuni III's 1852 series "The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido" pairs kabuki portraits with the stations along the famous Tokaido Road. Each design features a half-length figure in the foreground, with a border of clouds separating the actor from the landscape above. Interestingly, the title cartouche of each print is framed by different objects related to the kabuki character or play, including armor and weapons, household objects, flowers, horse equipment, and traveler's clothing and baggage. The large expressive characters are beautifully drawn and detailed, with fine line work in the hair and soft bokashi shading in the backgrounds.
The exact number of prints for the series is unclear, because two prints exist for some stations, and some intermediate stations are also included. Where there are two designs of the same subject, the background landscape continues across the two prints. This handsome series proved extremely popular when released, and remains a favorite of collectors today.
Torii Nawate, between Hamamatsu and Maisaka: Ichikawa Kodanji IV as Ishikawa Goemon - Terrific depiction of Ichikawa Kodanji IV playing the well-known robber Ishikawa Goemon, the subject of many kabuki plays. After attempting to kill the powerful lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he and his young son were sentenced to death by boiling. Here he grips his sword with both hands, an anguished expression on his face. One sleeve of his outer black robe is pushed down to the waist, the sleeve of his blue kimono tied back with rope. His hair is disheveled, with loose wisps framing his distraught face. A powerful and expressive portrait, beautifully composed and detailed.
Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Image Size - 13 3/4" x 9 1/2"
Condition - This print with good detail as shown. Backed with paper. A few creases, light horizontal and vertical lines where backing papers meet. Please see photos for details.