Artist: Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858)
TItle: 39. Distant View of Kinryuzan Temple and the Azuma Bridge
Series: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Dimensions: 24.3 x 35.5 cm
Hiroshige Ando’s series ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’ was considered the artist’s final masterpiece, showing a development of style and expression in one final artistic effort. Here, Hiroshige employed his interplay of close ups with distant backgrounds for the first time within his own work and his contemporaries in Edo period Japan. Another technique used extensively by Hiroshige in this series is the kiri, or cut. This compositional tool edits out what would have been considered key compositional details for the European artistic tradition, as if the subject slipped out of frame unintentionally. However, its usage is dynamic and gives movement to the general stillness of the landscape genre. Hiroshige’s employment of it here lends an air of mystery to the geisha riding on a pleasure boat in the Sumida River. Although her facial features are obscured, her intricate hairpin indicates both her style and status. Behind her lie the famous sights of the print: to the right is the five story pagoda of the Asakusa Kannon Temple, known then as the Kinryūzan Sensōji. Framed within the roof of the boat is Mt. Fuji and Azuma Bridge. The whole scene is gently ornamented by the cherry blossoms scattered in the wind.