Art on Tuesday: Monkey Bridge


This is a woodblock print of the Monkey Bridge 猿槁 in the Kai Province 甲斐國 made by Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重 (1797-1858) in 1841/42. The old bridge is located in the Yamanashi Prefecture and was rebuilt in 1984. You find more interesting pictures of the Sarubashi Bridge here.

Art on Tuesday: Jumping Down Kiyomizu-dera


This girl is jumping down from the veranda of  Kiyomizu-dera, the temple of pure water, located in Kyôto. If she survives, her wish will be granted. Actually several people jumped down here during the Edo period, but it was pretty dangerous. The ukiyo-e was painted by Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木 春信 (1725-1770).

清水寺 is still one of the most famous temples in Japan, founded in 778 and belongs to the New Seven Wonders of the World. You will get an impressive view of the temple on their Japanese website.

Art on Tuesday: Rain


What looks like a very modern Japanese woodblock print was made by Utagawa Toyokuni II ‪歌川豊国 (2代目)‬(1777-1835) in 1830. Night Rain on Oyama is a beautiful landscape ukiyo-e of his series Eight Famous Views of Kanagawa.

Art on Tuesday: Maple Tree


This picture of a maple tree with little birds 紅葉小禽図  was painted by Itō Jakuchū 伊藤 若冲 (1716-1800). It is a beautiful scene of a Japanese garden in autumn showing the typical orange-red colors of the maple leaves. Itô Jakuchû was a very talented painter. Being active as an artist in the Edo period, he was well-known and respected for his paintings during his lifetime mostly active in Kyôto.

Art on Tuesday: Bonfire


Hasegawa Sadanobu I 長谷川貞信 (1809-1879) painted this ukiyo-e ca. 1870/71 named 如意嶽大文字. It is a landscape picture of the Nyoigatake mountain area in Kyôto. The tradition of bonfire is widely known in Japan until today, as seen in pictures here. The biggest bonfire in Japan is held on top of the Daimonji-yama in the shape of the Japanese character 大 meaning “big”.

The picture is part of a collection at the  Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Art on Tuesday: Shower at Ume Bridge


Sadanobu1Hasegawa Sadanobu I 長谷川貞信 (1809-1879) painted a picture of the Ume Bridge (Plum Bridge) in Ôsaka. It is a charming scene of a summer day and all of a sudden there is rain pouring down (北新地梅之橋白雨). Funny how Sadanobu draw various people hiding under their umbrellas rushing into different directions seeking shelter. Only the boatman in the center of the picture is calmly rowing his boat further on. It is a view of a typical Japanese town. The scene becomes lively through the moving people and the use of fresh colors. Using shades of blue for the stone walls and the river, contrasting color of pink for partly wooden fronts as well as for the people and parts of the umbrellas. The rain is visualized by simple strokes. 梅雨 (tsuyu) literally means “plum rain” and is used for the rainy season in Japan. Sadanobu makes use of this expression in this picture.

You find more detailed information about this woodblock print at the website of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Art on Tuesday: Iris Garden


Iris Garden in Horikiri from the series Twelve Scenes of Tokyo 東京拾二題 堀切の志ようぶ by Yoshida Hiroshi 吉田 博 (1876-1950), painted in 1928. The Iris is a summer flower, in bloom from May to July and can be found all over Japan. As a symbol the Iris stands for purification of evil and self-protection. The flower is very popular in Japan, often seen as textile pattern and various artistic forms.

Art on Tuesday: Summer Moon at Miyajima


Tsuchiya Koitsu 土屋光逸 (1870-1949) painted Summer Moon in Miyajima around 1936. You have a view from the Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社 on the famous Torii in the water. Today it belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Island Miyajima and the Shrine is a wonderful place to visit.

Art on Tuesday: Mount Fuji seen across a Ray


Ando Hiroshige’s 安藤 広重 (1797-1858) Mount Fuji seen across a Ray made in 1856. The picture is part of the series Famous Views of the 60 Provinces 六十余州名所図会 showing a Pine Grove at Mio in Suruga Province, located in the centre of Shizuoka Prefecture. Mount Fuji has no snow on top, so it must be in summertime. The lake is painted in beautiful blue shades with tiny sailing ships moving from right to left. There is a little breeze as you can see small waves and the sails are blown. The deep blue color is used as a frame: see the shore of the lake and the sky at the top of the picture. The curves of the clouds surrounding Mount Fuji and the shape of the headland are corresponding in shape. Contrasting  colors of red and green plus the rich blue create a powerful picture.

Art on Tuesday: Lake Chûzenji


This is a landscape woodblock print by Hiroshige II 二代 広重 (1826-1869) called Chûzenji Lake in Shimozuke Province 下野中禅寺湖水 made in 1860. It is part of the series One hundred famous views of Japan 諸国名所百景. Lake Chûzenji is located in the Nikkô National Park, a popular tourist spot even today and a must see on a Japanese roundtrip.