Utagawa Hiroshige (/ˌhɪəroʊˈʃiːɡeɪ/, Japanese: 歌川 広重), born Andō Hiroshige (安藤 広重; 1797 – 12 October 1858), was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, considered the last great master of that tradition. Hiroshige is best known for his horizontal-format landscape series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō and for his vertical-format landscape series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
The subjects of his work were atypical of the ukiyo-e genre, whose typical focus was on beautiful women, popular actors, and other scenes of the urban pleasure districts of Japan's Edo period (1603–1868). The popular series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai was a strong influence on Hiroshige's choice of subject, though Hiroshige's approach was more poetic and ambient than Hokusai's bolder, more formal prints. Subtle use of colour was essential in Hiroshige's prints, often printed with multiple impressions in the same area and with extensive use of bokashi (color gradation), both of which were rather labour-intensive techniques.
For scholars and collectors, Hiroshige's death marked the beginning of a rapid decline in the ukiyo-e genre, especially in the face of the westernisation that followed the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Hiroshige's work came to have a marked influence on Western painting towards the close of the 19th century as a part of the trend in Japonism. Western artists, such as Manet and Monet, collected and closely studied Hiroshige's compositions. Vincent van Gogh even went so far as to paint copies of two of Hiroshige's prints from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
|The First Shono from the Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido Highway (Hoeido version)|
|James McNeil Whistler at the NGV International, 25 March – 19 June 2016. The artist like so many others of his time was fascinated by Japanese Prints, which he collected. Hiroshige and Hokusai were favourite Japanese artists.|