Edo (now Tokyo)
Edo (now Tokyo)
Ando Hiroshige. Other names used: Utagawa (Ando), Tokutaro, Jubei, Juemon, Tokubei, Ichiyasai, Ichiryusai, Ryusai, Tokaido, Utashige. This last major master of the Ukiyo-e School was born in 1797, son of an Edo fire warden. H. succeeded to his father hereditary post early but in 1811 entered the studio of the ukiyo-e master Utagawa Toyohiro, soon receiving the artist name Hiroshige. His first published work, in the field of book illustration, dates from 1818; during the following decade H. published capable work in the field of figure prints: actors, warriors and girls. From the year 1831 he began (under the influence of the great Hokusai) the series of landscape prints that were to make his name: Fifty three Stations of the Tokaido, and later, Famous Views of Japan, Famous Views of Kyoto, Eight views of Lake Biwa, Sixtynine Stations of the Kiso-kaido Highway. Though not the prodigious eccentric that Hokusai was, H. nevertheless made a large contribution to the development of the landscape print, as well as to the field of flower-and-bird prints (these revealing his inclination toward the Kyoto Shijo School more than toward ukiyo-e). In effect, H. consolidated the landscape form and adapted it to popular taste, thereby diffusing the form to all strata of society. But eventually this also led to overproduction and declining standards of quality. At his best, however, H. was a master of the impressionist, poetic view of nature, and he remains the best-loved of all Japanese artists. Among his pupils were Hiroshige II, Shigekatsu, Shigekiyo and Hiroshige III.