Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


Bando Minosuke II as Ishikawa Goemon and Seki Sanjuro II as Tairyo Hisayoshi

both sheets signed Gototei Kunisada ga with censor's kiwame seal and publisher's seal Dai (possibly Daikokuya), 1831

oban tate-e diptych; 29 3/4 by 10 in., 75.5 by 25.4 cm

The actor Bando Minosuke II (Morita Kan'ya XI, 1802-1863) is depicted in the role of Ishikawa Goemon standing forcefully on a balcony balancing with his right foot on the railing. Goemon (1558-1594) was a heroic outlaw in the manner of Robin Hood who was executed by being boiled alive along with his son after his failed assasination attempt on the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598). In the bottom sheet, Seki Sanjuro II (1786-1839) in the role of Tairyo Hisayoshi (based on the real-life Hideyoshi) pauses while leaning on a walking staff. The most famous version of the story of Goemon is recounted in the play, Sanmon Gosan no Kiri, which debued in 1778. This vertical diptych depicts a staging of the drama as performed at the Ichimura in the 3rd lunar month of 1831. Kunisada reprises the composition again twenty years later featuring the actors Ichikawa Ebizo V (Danjuro VII, 1791-1859) and Sawamura Chojuro V (Suketakaya Takasuke III, 1802-1853) as Goemon and Hisayoshi, respectively.

Waseda University Theater Museum (top sheet, 101-0691)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.43742a-b (1851 version)

(inv. no. 10-5373)

price: Sold

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Kunisada: Ichikawa Ebizo V and Sawamura Chojuro V, 1851 (MFA, Boston)


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