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#JP1-67480
Hiroshige (1797-1858)

Shono

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#JP1-67480
Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Shono
Series:
The 53 Stations of the Tokaido
Medium:
Woodblock Print
Date:
1855
Size:
14" x 9.25"
Signature:
Hiroshige hitsu
Condition:
Very fine color, impression and state

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Details

Publisher:
Tsutaya Kichizo
Seals:
Aratame

About the art

While the smallest, rural station on the Tokaido, Hiroshige repeatedly used Shono as an opportunity for compositional exploration throughout his T okaido series. In the Upright T okaido, he provides a snapshot of Edo-period life, presenting porters on their way to a rice festival. As the ribbons and ceremonial papers rustle in the wind, the one can feel the excitement of a festival day. 

About the artist

Born in Edo as Tokutaro Ando, Hiroshige grew up in a minor samurai family. His father belonged to the firefighting force assigned to Edo Castle. It is here that Hiroshige was given his first exposure to art: legend has it that a fellow fireman tutored him in the Kano school of painting, though Hiroshige’s first official teacher was Rinsai. Though Hiroshige tried to join Utagawa Toyokuni’s studio, he was turned away. In 1811, young Hiroshige entered an apprenticeship with the celebrated Utagawa Toyohiro. After only a year, he was bestowed with the artist name Hiroshige. He soon gave up his role in the fire department to focus entirely on painting and print design. During this time he studied painting, intrigued by the Shijo school. Hiroshige’s artistic genius went largely unnoticed until 1832.


In Hiroshige’s groundbreaking series of woodblock prints, The 53 Stations of the Tokaido (1832-1833), Hiroshige captured the journey along the Tokaido road, the highway connecting Edo to Kyoto, the imperial capital. With the Tokugawa Shogunate relaxing centuries of age-old restrictions on travel, urban populations embraced travel art and Hiroshige became one of the most prominent and successful ukiyo-e artists. He also produced kacho-e (bird-and-flower pictures) to enormous success. In 1858, at the age of 61, he passed away as a result of the Edo cholera epidemic.


Hiroshige’s prints continue to convey the beauty of Japan and provide insight into the everyday life of its citizens. The appeal of his tender, lyrical landscapes was not restricted to the Japanese audience. Hiroshige’s work had a profound influence on the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists of Europe: Toulouse-Lautrec was fascinated with Hiroshige’s daring diagonal compositions and inventive use of perspective, Van Gogh literally copied two prints from Hiroshige’s famed series, 100 Famous Views of Edo in oil paint.

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