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HIROSHIGE’S 100 FAMOUS VIEWS OF EDO

Ando Hiroshige was a wonderful Japanese artist and master that devoted his life to the creation of beautiful paintings, as well as teaching students the Ukiyo-e style.  Throughout his career, this particular artist made his mark in the world of art with magnificent pieces devoted to scenery.  Compared to other artists, Hiroshige introduced new and exciting ideas that made him a beloved favorite among many. 

One of Hiroshige’s most incredible paintings was called “100 Famous Views of Edo”.  Keep in mind that Edo is what we know today as the city of Tokyo.  While Hiroshige created a number of masterpieces, this particular series of woodblock prints was deemed as his finest.  Hiroshige used both vivid and subtle visuals, capturing life in Edo in all the seasons but each from a different viewpoint. 

What you would notice immediately when looking at Hiroshige’s 100 Famous Views of Edo is the detailing.  In fact, these woodblock prints are so brilliant that it is as if you could smell the various odors and fragrances in the air while hearing conversations and other noises.  For instance, you would see dark clouds revealing heavy downpours of rain, forcing people to find cover as they cross over a bridge hovering above crystal, blue water.  Another depicts a bridal path with horse dung glistening in the fall sunlight.  In the background, people are milling about while a red temple light plays off the white snow. 

The scenes captured in this series were from 1856 and 1858.  Keep in mind that while Tokyo is still a bustling city, Edo at this time was at a major turning point, being rated as one of the largest cities in the world.  The Ukiyo-e depictions of life during the Edo period are a treasure, having been on display in many of the world’s finest museums to include the Brooklyn Museum of Art. 

Interestingly, Hiroshige actually worked as a firefighter until the age of 31.  At that time, he added the study of printmaking to his already busy schedule, working hard under the master, Utagawa Toyohiro.  Very quickly, Hiroshige was able to develop a wonderful ability of capturing the effects of places, people, and seasons.  His work, especially 100 Famous Views of Edo, was ambitious, showing off his unrivaled talent. 

You would also notice that the pigmentation of this series is natural.  In fact, four or possibly more advanced printing techniques for the time were used to print the series on heavy, mulberry bark paper.  In addition, when looking at the first edition set, you would find mica blended in with the pigment, producing a magnificent shaded surface with beautiful reflections and only slight glittering that actually changes in the light.  Finally, Hiroshige used another unique technique, one of gradation, or in Japan, called Bokashi.  In this case, color is wiped off a block very carefully prior to rich texture and shading to scenery being printed.  

View Prints from the set in our Gallery


Read more about Japanese Woodblock Prints:
  Japanese Woodblock Prints   Ukiyo-e   Toyokuni Utagawa   Eisen Kikugawa   Hiroshige Ando   Utamaro Kitigawa

 

Visit our online store for dozens of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Click here to see our current selection.
 
The Great Wave by Hokusai
The Great Wave by Hokusai
Code:fw1002
Price:$27.95
Kabuki by Utagawa
Kabuki by Utagawa
Code:fw1121
Price:$27.95
3 Beauties by Utamaro
3 Beauties by Utamaro
Code:fw1118
Price:$27.95
General in Battle by Utagawa
General in Battle by Utagawa
Code:fw1120
Price:$27.95
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Code:fw1010
Price:$27.95
 

 


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