Snowy Gorge

Utagawa Hiroshige Japanese

Edo period (1615–1868)

Not on view

Hiroshige began his career at about age fifteen as a student of Utagawa Toyohiro (1773–1828), who was known for his prints of landscapes and beautiful women. He also studied Japanese literati painting. Hiroshige's predilection for landscapes may have been fostered by such early influences. His course in this genre was set by the enormous success of his best-known landscape series, Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaidō, published by Hoeidō on the basis of sketches made during a trip to Kyoto in 1832.
A special fondness for snow-covered landscapes and falling snow pervades his work. The depiction of falling snow fully exploits the woodblock medium: after the block has been carved, the unprinted paper supplies the whiteness. In this snow scene, one of Hiroshige's finest, probably made in 1841, the figures crossing the bridge and in the boats on the Fuji River are so small that they become almost a part of nature, emphasizing the monumentality of the mountains. Hiroshige creates a silent poetry of landscape.

Snowy Gorge, Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo)), Woodblock print; ink and color on paper, Japan

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