Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill

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Medium: Museo Portfolio Rag
More About This Edition:

Read our introduction to this edition, "Hiroshige's Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill".

Artist Statement

 

This snowy scene of the Meguro River was one of the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Ando Hiroshige's iconic series of woodcut images. Though ukiyo-e artists of the time tended to focus on bustling city scenes or seductive women, the rebellious Hiroshige was known for his bold, formal landscapes. Even here, as we see commuters heading home while night falls, it's clear that Hiroshige is more interested in the bold blues of the river and star-speckled sky and the snow-laden branches. Looking at the image, one can feel the crisp winter air and hear the soft crunch of snow beneath feet, even as one stops to appreciate the beauty of winter on the way home.

 

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.