Artist: Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858)
Title: 45. Ishiyakushi: Yoshitsune’s Cherry Tree and the Shrine of Noriyori
Series: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizo
This spring scene in one of the post stations along the Tokaido Road was famously depicted by Vincent van Gogh in his Portrait of Père Tanguy (1887). When Japanese woodblock prints began to circulate around Europe in the late nineteenth century, they caused a sensation among artists tired of the dominant conservative style of the academies. What had been regarded as common culture by the townsmen class of Japan, was seen as high art by many European artists inspired by the striking compositions and surreal palette used in these woodblock prints.
Hiroshige Ando’s rural depiction of farmers out on the rice fields beside a blooming kabazakura, a birch-like cherry tree known locally in Ishiyakushi as Yoshitsune’s cherry tree, clearly caught the attention of van Gogh who decided to include it in his work.