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.

Art on Tuesday: The Fox Game


The three geisha-girls are playing a hand-game called kitsune-ken 狐拳, it is comparable to rock-paper-scissor, a hand-game which is original Japanese and was adapted by the West. On the left side she represents the village head 庄屋, in the middle she plays the fox 狐, and the right girl plays the hunter 猟師. The rules are: the hunter beats the fox, the fox beats the village head, and he beats the hunter. Kikuzawa Eizan  菊川英山  (1787-1867) made this ukiyo-e in 1820.

Art on Tuesday: Sunset across the Ryôgoku Bridge

Today’s post shows another picture of the series 36 views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 of 1830. It is called 御厩川岸より両国橋夕陽見 Sunset across the Ryôgoku Bridge at the Sumida River in today’s Tôkyô. It shows a ferry-boat with some passengers and their luggage. The ferryman is moving the boat with a stick. In the background you see the Ryôgoku bridge and a blue Mount Fuji in the same color as the water in the front down by the ferry-boat.

Art on Tuesday: Mount Fuji seen from the Inume Pass


This ukiyo-e is part of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji 富嶽三十六景. It is picture number eight: Mount Fuji seen from the Inume Pass in Kôshû 甲州犬目峠. The series is one of the best-known ukiyo-e collection by Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾 北斎 (1760-1849). Mount Fuji comes in brown lava color with snow on top. In the middle of the picture is a green grass path where two groups of two people and two mules are walking.  On the right side of the pass there is fog and on the left the white parts seems to be snow. You can see also  a huge  pine tree in the centre of the picture.  I like the colors and the calm atmosphere. Looks like it is early in the morning, and it is a fresh start.

Art on Tuesday: Hot Spring Hotel


A woman at a Hot Spring Hotel 温泉宿 made by Hashiguchi Goyô 橋口 五葉 (1880-1921) in his later years. The woodblock print has an interesting effect due to the contrast of the use of monochromatic white on the person in front and the colored background showing a plant in full bloom. She is relaxing after she took a bath at the onsen, which is a refreshing and delightful thing to do.

Art on Tuesday: View of Kônodai and the Tone River


Utagawa Hiroshige I  歌川 広重 (1797–1858) painted The View of Kônodai and the Tone River 鴻の台とね川風景 as a part of his series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo in 1856. Utagawa created an illusion of distance in this scenic picture of a long riverbed. At the right side of the background you find Mount Fuji.  He added also some  lovely details: look at the three people at the cliff line, which gives you a hint of the cliff’s height. This is without doubt a beautiful view.