Hiroshige II Utagawa, Shiba Shinmei Shrine, Winter Landscape


Artist: Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826-1869)
Title: Shiba Shinmei Shrine
Series: Forty-eight Famous Views of Edo
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizo
Date: c.1860
Size: 18.5 x 25.2 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

As with many of Hiroshige II's prints, those comprising the series 'Forty-Eight Famous Views of Edo' borrowed compositional elements from his teacher Hiroshige I Utagawa. At this point, he had just started using his teacher's name, who had recently passed away, therefore the prints in this series are signed 'Hiroshige'.

In an almost idyllic setting, people are seen going about their daily life around Shiba Shinmei Shrine. Hiroshige II uses a printing effect earlier seen in his teacher's designs, with blank areas around objects to suggest heavy snow. Clouds obstruct part of the view from above, a design commonly seen in yamato-e paintings on folding screens. This technique usually had a fairy-tale-like quality to it, at the same time both inviting the viewer to the scene, but also making them aware that it is all an illusion. The narrative element of yamato-e, the interest in the depiction of everyday life, and the choice of oblique and partial views in a composition heavily influenced the ukiyo-e style.

Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)

In the genre of Japanese art, Hiroshige II Utagawa was a woodblock print artist best known for continuing the tradition of Hiroshige I Utagawa in producing landscape prints. Born in Edo (today’s Tokyo), many details of his formative years are unknown, except that he became a pupil of Hiroshige I under the name of Shigenobu. Hiroshige II produced a large number of commissioned work in the 1850s in the style of the elder Hiroshige, and often signed his work ‘Ichiryusai mon’ (student of Ichiryusai, another art name of Hiroshige).

He seems to have married Hiroshige’s daughter Otatsu and inherited Hiroshige’s name following his death in 1858. In 1865 he moved from Edo to Yokohama after dissolving his marriage and began using the name Kisai Rissho. During this decade he produced a number of collaborative print series, particularly with Kunisada, who had earlier worked with Hiroshige I.

His works have often been confounded with those of Hiroshige I, resembling them closely in style, subject, and even signature, particularly in series such as ‘One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces’ (1859-61) that echo his master’s ‘Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces’ (1853-56). ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’ (1856-58), also mainly completed by Hiroshige I, was finished by Hiroshige II following the former’s death. While the signature on this series of prints remain the same, the later designs show stylistic resemblance to those of Hiroshige II. The artist’s other notable series include ‘Eight Views of the Sumida River’ (1861) and ‘Thirty-six Views of the Eastern Capital’ (1861-62).

More Information
Print FormatChuban
ArtistHiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)
Size18.5 x 25.2 cm
Condition ReportMinor spots. Light wear at the bottom.
publisherTsutaya Kichizo:1820-1890