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YOSHITOSHI 1839-92 The son of a merchant, Yoshitoshi grew up in Edo (Tokyo) where he studied art under the ukiyo-e print master, Kuniyoshi (1798-1861). Yoshitoshi published his first print in 1853, the same year the Tokogawa government opened trade negotiations with the west, initiating a period of rapid social and political change in Japan. Yoshitoshi's erratic career and personal life, punctuated by periods of mental instability and depression, mirrored the tumultous period during which he lived. Yoshitoshi was keenly interested in preserving traditional Japanese culture and values and he used his art to this purpose by choosing historic and legendary subjects for many of his designs. His early work was often violent, even gruesome, in nature. Later, as his talent matured, his focus shifted to beautifully evocative portraits of men and women. The One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series, published between 1885 and 1892 by Akiyama Buemon, is frquently considered to have been Yoshitoshi's greatest achievement. It's subjects are drawn from history, theater and legend and in it Yoshitoshi achieves unsurpassed depths of characterization and emotion.

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