Katsukawa Shunshô was an ukiyo-e artist chiefly known for his paintings and actor prints. A student of Miyagawa Shunsui, Shunshô was one of the chief artists of the Katsukawa school, and taught many of its prominent members. Though considered a master of the print, he is also regarded as one of the chief ukiyo-e painters.
Up until that time, the Torii school had dominated the kabuki prints sub-genre. However, Shunshô pioneered the differentiation of faces, presenting the Torii school with significant competition. His figures not only look individualized from one another, but actually resemble somewhat the actors being depicted, a major innovation in ukiyo-e depictions of human figures. This mode of depiction also represented a shift away from purely representing the role to describing the actual actor in that role, a move influenced by - or influencing - the growth of the cult of the actor, a phenomenon essential to kabuki.
- Lane, Richard. Images from the Floating World. New York: Konecky & Konecky, 1978. pp116-120.