Introducing the Collections 9: Ando Hiroshige

The Colleges have in its Collections four prints from the series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji by Ando Hiroshige.

5, Tea-water Canal, Yedo, 1858
hws-a-82

15, Villages of Noge and Yokohma, 1858
hws-a-81

18, Sagami River, 1858
hws-a-80

and

32, Inume Pass, Kai Province, 1858
hws-a-79

All are woodblock prints 33 x 22 cm.

Hiroshige was born in 1797. He had, almost from infancy, displayed his inclination towards art; and his father had already arranged for him to have lessons from a friend and neighbor, an amateur painter named Okajima Rinsai. In his fifteenth year he desired greatly to become a pupil of Toyokuni but the studio of the great man could not accommodate him and he joined that of Toyohiro. Here he progressed so rapidly that within the short space of a year his master formally admitted him to membership of the Utagawa fraternity. Hiroshige did not immediately begin to produce landscape prints. Up to about 1830 his main output consisted of prints of beautiful women (bijinga) and actors (yakushae). Landscape prints, which had been out of favor for some years, was returning to popularity and received a boost from the publication of Katsuchika Hokusai’s ‘Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji’. Hiroshige became aware of the possibilities and around 1826 he released the series ‘Famous Views of the Eastern Capital’, a simple landscape series which illustrated the various sites in Edo. At the same time, Hiroshige was also producing prints of birds and flowers. For these works he used principally a long compositional format. During the late 1840’s and early 1850’s, over production took its toll of artistic quality. Hiroshige’s works became mediocre and repetitive. Hiroshige also produced a number of nikuhitsuga (ukiyoe paintings) in his later years. Hiroshige died in 1858, two years after his retirement, during a cholera epidemic and is buried in a Zen temple in Asakusa, Tokyo.

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