The gallery of “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo”
In 1853, Utagawa(Ando) Hiroshige began to draw the new series of landscape ukiyo-e. He already held the position of pupular ukiyo-e artist by the succuess of “Fifty-Three Stages on the Tokaido“. His new work was on the theme of sights in various parts of the Edo.
As its name suggests, “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” consists of more than 100 paintings (and table of contents). And they are divided into four seasons. You could find pictures of the plum garden in the part of Spring, and Moon Pine in Autumn.
Books of “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo”
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“This luxurious Japanese-bound, boxed publication transcends the coffee table cliché by combining beauty with information.”
―ARTnews Magazine, New York
Literally meaning “pictures of the floating world,” ukiyo-e refers to the famous Japanese woodblock print genre that originated in the 17th century and is practically synonymous with the Western world’s visual characterization of Japan. Because they could be mass produced, ukiyo-e works were often used as designs for fans, New Year’s greeting cards, single prints, and book illustrations, and traditionally they depicted city life, entertainment, beautiful women, kabuki actors, and landscapes. The influence of ukiyo-e in Europe and the United States, often referred to as Japonisme, can be seen in everything from impressionist painting to today’s manga and anime illustration. This reprint is made from one of the finest complete original sets of woodblock prints belonging to the Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Tokyo.Hiroshige (1797–1858) was one of the last great artists in the ukiyo-e tradition. Though he captured a variety of subjects, his greatest talent was in creating landscapes of his native Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and his final masterpiece was a series known as “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” (1856–1858). This resplendent complete reprint pairs each of the 120 large-scale illustrations with a description, allowing readers to plunge themselves into Hiroshige’s beautifully vibrant landscapes.
Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, actually composed of 118 splendid woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art. The series, reproduced here in its entirety for the first time in a Western edition, contains many of Hiroshige’s best-loved and most extraordinary prints. It is a celebration of the style and world of Japan’s finest cultural flowering at the end of the shogunate.
Hiroshige, perhaps the most brilliant of the ukiyo-e printmakers, revealed the panorama of his city’s activities with subtle and vivid visual anecdotes: fireworks seen from the river, fashionable geishas on parade, the kabuki district at night, intimate moments in the gardens and teahouses. But more than a historical document, the views are really vignettes presented from a remarkable variety of vantage points – aerial perspectives, multiple viewpoints, framed repoussoirs – and incorporate the natural beauty and atmospheric effects of every season: crisp autumn moonlight, cherry blossoms and irises in the spring, summer rain on the waterways, and temples in the winter snow. It is a tour de force of artistic vision and printmaking craftsmanship that epitomizes the inventiveness of ukiyo-e art.
The volume is printed in Japan and has been reproduced from an exceptionally fine, first-edition set in the Brooklyn Museum of Art to insure maximum fidelity to the original prints.
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