Kiyonaga Ito, a Western-style painter specializing in pictures of female nudes and recipient of the Order of Culture, died Tuesday evening of heart failure at a hospital in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, his family said Wednesday. He was 90.
Ito, a native of Hyogo Prefecture, studied at what is now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He won his first prize in 1933, while still a student, from the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition. After being demobilized following World War II, he won the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition’s blue-ribbon prizes in 1947 and 1948.
He spent some time in Europe in 1962 and, after returning to Japan, began developing his use of fine lines and vivid colors.
In 1977, Ito received the Japan Art Academy’s Imperial Prize and became a member of the academy in 1984. In 1991, he became a person of cultural merit. He received the Order of Culture in 1996. He also served as an adviser for the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition.
Among his more famous works is a large four-part series of wall paintings at Aichi Gakuin University on the life of Buddha, completed in 1984.
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