Kiyonobu, the founder of the Torii school, studied under his father Kiyomoto, who was an actor, woodblock cutter and painter of posters for the kabuki theatre. He was born in Kyoto, but later went with his father to Edo. There he followed in his father’s footsteps and began to paint colourful placards for the kabuki stage. He based his style on that of Moronobu. His illustrated book was published in 1687, and around 1700 he produced his first large-format hand-coloured prints with motifs taken from the kabuki stage in Edo. It was with him that individual portraits of actors became fashionable. Around 1710, he produced a book of courtesan portraits illustrating the beauties of Yoshiwara. Like most ukiyo-e artists, he was also a master of shunga. Kiyonobu’s hallmarks are powerful, dynamic draught-manship and the pronounced strength of line in his woodblock prints. His later work is difficult to distinguish from that of Kiyonobu II.