Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Woman Reading A Letter by Oil Lamp

Artist:
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, 1753?–1806)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
1790s
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
H. 15 in. (38.1 cm); W. 10 in. (25.4 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
JP1659
Not on view
Utamaro portrays a woman who is concentrating intensely on a letter. Her entire body leans forward, and she firmly grasps the letter, holding it close to her face. The mosquito net works as a device that keeps the woman away from the light, increasing her anxiety and desire to move closer to it. The light from the lantern spreads out in a triangle, highlighting the woman's intense expression and creating a dramatic effect.
Signature: Utamaro hitsu
Nagoya City Museum. "Ukiyo-e from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 14, 1995–May 28, 1995.

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