As the black sky rains a shower of fine lines, several figures are caught in the sudden downpour. The two women brace their dark umbrellas against the wind as they run for the near bank of the Sumida River. Unprepared for the weather, a man pulls his straw cloak over his head, while three men huddle under a single umbrella on their way towards Atake, a red light district. In the river below, a small figure steers his boat to the shelter of Ohashi Bridge. Beneath the rain, the far bank is reduced to silhouettes, the temples of Fukagawa and Honjo just barely discernible. Hiroshige’s work captured not only the natural beauty of Japan, but also the everyday life of its citizens. As intersecting diagonals and unexpected perspective create a stunning scene, the tangible unpreparedness of the human figures completes the atmosphere of a summer shower. In 1887, Van Gogh was so enamored with this design that he copied it in oil paint, sparking the international recognition of this image.
Other impressions of this print can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Honolulu Museum of Art, British Museum, Tokyo National Museum, Library of Congress, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.