During his lifetime, Kunisada was considered the greatest ukyio-e artist. The son of a wealthy Edo merchant, he learned the trade at Utagawa Toyokuni's premier studio. After the publication in 1808 of his first portraits of Kabuki actors, his fame rose to great heights. Commercially, he became the most successful woodblock artist ever.
The world that depicts Japanese printmaking can be captured under one romantic, originally Buddhist denominator, the Ukiyo-e, or the floating world - a world of fleeting entertainment and pleasure - of everyday life that took place between the 17th and 19th centuries in theaters, on the street and during parties and festivals.
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