Artist: Hiroshige Ando (1797–1858)
Title: 46. Shono, Driving Rain
Series: Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô
Date: c. 1833–34
Dimensions: 36.8 x 24.6 cm
As rain lashes down in one decisive outpour, travelers and villagers splinter off in different directions seeking shelter. Hiroshige captures this sudden disarray near the post station of Shono through the dramatically windswept trees and colliding trajectory of the rain. Japanese art and aesthetics are often noted for their affinity with the momentary. Yoshida Kenkō (1284-1350) discusses in his work, Tsurezuregusa, how the most beautiful moments of the year are those of transitions: when spring shoots just start to reveal their minute forms or when a moon, not quite full, hovers dimly in the night sky. Hiroshige expresses this in the fleeting movement in nature and people caused by sudden rain, his masterful rendition elevating this work as one of his most seminal in the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō series.