10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($800)
In the late 18th century, Ando Hiroshige was considered something of a rebel in the ukiyo-e woodcut world. While his contemporaries were creating works centering around coy women or intricate images of city life, Hiroshige chose instead to focus on lush landscapes. The resulting body of work—his iconic series One Hundred Views of Edo—featured scenes in and around Tokyo (known then as Edo). Today’s striking and snowy edition, Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill, comes from that set.
Hiroshige couldn’t capture the landscapes of Tokyo without portraying some of the city’s bustling life, but here in Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill, it’s clear his attention is turned to the snow-laden boughs balancing heavily over the Meguro River. The river reflects the night sky—a deep indigo backdrop bespeckled with starlight. The natural setting gives this scene a tranquil feeling even as we sympathize with the huddled, snow-covered commuters on their way home.
Meguro Drum Bridge is a throughway over the Meguro River to this day, but much of the rest of the details of this site have changed. The stone bow bridge that dominates the foreground in Hiroshige’s edition has morphed into something much more modern. Newly constructed out of steel, the Drum Bridge still holds memories of its former stone iteration, with narrow iron arches that call to mind the masonry of its predecessor.
While change is constant, Ando Hiroshige’s edition reminds us that one can still find calm in the midst of chaos on a snowy night. It gives us a sense of comfort knowing that the evening stars still shine over the same place he captured nearly 100 years ago in Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill.
With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200