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Matabei Iwasa

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Edo Ukiyoe painter
Japanese, (1578–1650)
Illegitimate son of Araki Murashige, daimyo of Itami, who served Nobunaga and who was forced by him to suicide. Grew up in Kyoto under mother's name of Iwasa. Studied under Tosa Mitsunori and probably under Kano Shoei. About 1616 lived in Fukui, painting for the daimyo Lord Matsudaira. In 1637 to Edo to work for Tokugawa Iemitsu; died there. Once called the "father of ukiyo-e," though some scholars now consider Hishikawa Moronobu as the founder of the school. In any event, some of his paintings depict genre subjects, scenes of historic events, and illustrations of Japanese or Chinese classic tales. Is generally thought to have established a definite figure type with large heads and carefully delineated features. Painter of much individuality, neither Tosa nor Kano, though his work shows Kano influence and he called himself a Tosa painter painting of the Thirty-six Poets in the Tosho-gu at Kawagoe. -- Roberts, L. Dictionary of Japanese Artists (1980)

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