Japanese prints of the XVIII –XIX century from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts






SUZUKI Harunobu / 鈴木春信

Life dates:

1725 - 1770


The early Edo period


Edo (Tokyo)

The creator of the printing method used for multi-colour prints was Suzuki Harunobu (1725-1770). Starting out by making prints using 3-4 matrices, Harunobu later increased the number of blocks to 7-9 and he then began to make active use of the various possibilities offered by this technique such as printing on damp paper and using gold and silver powder. The introduction of new, more complex and costly techniques can be explained by the emergence of a fashion for special surimono prints issued in small editions for a narrow circle of art-lovers on special occasions, in particular for New Year. Apart from surimono prints, Harunobu made popular special e-goyomi prints for calendars. Harunobu's artistic methods and portrayals of figures were no less innovatory. He developed his own special technique for depicting beautiful women. Unlike the majestic and static beauties of Kaigetsudo and Masanobu, his were delicate young girls little more than adolescents, possessing a rare and touching innocence and grace. All of Suzuki Harunobu's works are distinguished by an atmosphere of confidential intimacy.

Roberts, Laurance, P. "A Dictionary of Japanese Artists", John Weatherhill Inc., New York, 1980, p. 39-40