Utagawa Hiroshige -Traveling Mountains and Seas
Exploring Breathtaking Scenery in Japan with Hiroshige
As a leading painter of landscapes, the ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) gained popularity among the general public at the end of the Edo period. As well as the famous landmarks in Edo, Hiroshige was also active in depicting natural scenes of mountains and the sea in various places. He had focused on famous places along the Tōkaidō Road which is far from Edo since his youth, but from around his 40s especially, it is known that he traveled to various places such as Kōshū and Bōsō; it is thought that since then his experience of capturing nature while travelling is reflected in his works.
Mountains and the sea are the key themes, and this exhibition will show a wide variety of works, from well-known masterpieces to the works rarely exhibited, including all of the 20 drawings in the series “Wrestling Match Between the Mountains and Sea ” which Hiroshige produced in his later years, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji“ and “Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces”.
This exhibition will also introduce the process of producing these works as well as the famous places that Hiroshige actually visited, and the places he depicted based on the illustrations from existing geography books. We will also discover through these works the various forms of religious beliefs rooted in the mountains and the sea of each place, such as shrines built on the steep mountains and the large torii gates on the sea. This exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about Hiroshige’s works while enjoying the breathtaking scenery depicted in his ukiyo-e paintings, just as if they were traveling.
1 All 20 works of ” Wrestling Match Between the Mountains and Sea”, one of the Hiroshige’s masterpieces that depicts the beauty of Japan’s mountains and seas, will be exhibited
In his later years, Utagawa Hiroshige produced a number of works featuring landscapes of various provinces in Japan, especially mountains and seas. Among them, the series ” Wrestling Match Between the Mountains and Sea” is one of his best-known series and he completed publishing it just before his death from cholera in September 1858. This exhibition features all 20 works of this series into which Hiroshige poured his last energy, as well as “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” and ” Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji”, which he painted in his later years. This is also the first experience of presenting the entire series in one exhibition. In addition, ” Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces ” and many other landscapes pictures by Hiroshige will be introduced.
2 Did Hiroshige see the actual scenery? – Thinking about the process of creation
Hiroshige traveled around various provinces during his lifetime. In his travels to Kōshū and Bōsō Province, he kept a diary and sketches, and his works after returning to Edo are believed to be based on his experiences during the travel. On the other hand, Hiroshige often referred to illustrations in existing geographical books such as Fuchigami Kyokkō’s “Noted Landscapes” and Tani Bunchō’s “The Book of Famous Mountains”. In this exhibition, we will study Hiroshige’s ingenuity to create beautiful landscape prints through his works and materials.
3 Introducing various beliefs rooted in great nature
In Hiroshige’s landscape pictures, we can often find the precincts of shrines and temples. Great nature such as steep mountains and capes often became objects of worship since ancient times. This exhibition introduces various beliefs of the Edo period, including the Fuji and Oyama faiths, through Hiroshige’s works.
|University and High school students
|Junior High School Students and below
2023 / 08