Kinryuzan Temple, Asakusa
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This wintry scene of the Kinryzan Temple in Asakusa was part of the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, a collection of work by Ando Hiroshige about the city now known as Tokyo. Hiroshige was known for his bold, formal landscapes, which were a surprising departure from the more popular ukiyo-e subjects at the time. This particular scene evokes the beauty of winter: the snow-covered paths and rooftops are cold, yet bright and enticing in the softened light. Snowflakes and silence fall upon the city as the huddled, bundled masses make their way to the temple. Warm reds and browns frame the cool blue sky, keeping in mind the warmth of home, yet drawing us forward and outward.
Ando Hiroshige | See All Editions
Ando Hiroshige is widely recognized as one of the last great masters of the ukiyo-e tradition. Born in 1797 in Edo (now Tokyo), Hiroshige worked as a fire warden until 1812, when he began studying under Toyohiro, a renowned painter. He was considered a rebellious student: instead of choosing to focus on popular ukiyo-e subjects like beautiful women and city life, Hiroshige much preferred to travel and paint bold, formal landscapes. This style eventually made him quite popular, allowing him to publish series like One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, and The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kiso Kaidō. At sixty-one, Hiroshige died of cholera at his home in Edo. His total output is estimated to be between 5,000 and 8,000 individual prints. Scholars agree that after Hiroshige's death, the ukiyo-e genre fell into rapid decline when faced with the westernization of Japan at the time. However, Hiroshige's work came to have an influence on Western painting near the end of the 19th century as part of the Japonism trend - even Van Gogh painted copies of Hiroshige's prints.
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