Expressions of Love by Koryusai c. 1772
Ronin Gallery is pleased to present a selection of shunga prints by Isoda Koryusai. Shunga or as literally translated “Spring Pictures” are a genre of woodblock prints that depict the entire gamut of sensual pleasures. In the history of ukiyo-e there are few artists who can rival the independence and inventiveness of the great samurai artist, Isoda Koryusai. Little is know of his life. He was born into the samurai class as a retainer for the Tsuchiya family but renounced his liege lord to become a masterless warrior, a “free spirit”, a ronin. Soon after he became an ukiyo-e print artist and painter and was active from approximately 1764-1788. In 1781 the prestigious epithet of “Hokkyo”, an honorary rank that was bestowed upon artist by the Emperor, was affixed to his name. Koryusai is best known for his bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women). They are conceived in a spirit of worldly glamour natural to one of samurai rank. They are seductive and have an evocative sensuality that reaches full articulation in the brilliantly orchestrated entanglements of his shunga prints.