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The master of Japanese ukiyo-e
Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) was one of the last great artists in the ukiyo-e tradition. Literally meaning “pictures of the floating world,” ukiyo-e was a particular woodblock print genre of art that flourished between the 17th and 19th centuries. Subjects ranged from the bright lights and attractions of Edo (modern-day Tokyo), to spectacular natural landscapes.
In the West, Hiroshige’s prints became exemplary of the Japonisme that swept through Europe and defined the Western world’s visual idea of Japan. Because they could be mass produced, ukiyo-e works were often used as designs for fans, greeting cards, and book illustrations. The style influenced Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau artists alike, with Vincent van Gogh and James Abbott McNeill Whistler both particularly inspired by Hiroshige’s landscapes.
This introductory book presents key images from Hiroshige’s vibrant, vivid portfolio of blooming cherry trees, beautiful women, Kabuki actors, and busy shopping streets to introduce one of the greats of Asian art history.
Adele Schlombs studied Sinology, East Asian art history, European art history, and comparative religious studies at Cologne and Heidelberg Universities. From 1984 to 1987 she studied at Kyoto University and gained her doctorate in 1989 at Heidelberg University. In 1991, she took over the directorship of the Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne and since then she has organized numerous loan exhibitions of Japanese and Chinese art.