Art on Tuesday: Canary and Peony


This beautiful ukiyo-e  was made by Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎) in 1834. It is showing a flying canary in between peonies. The rich blue background and the pastel flowers are showing an interesting effect.

Peonies are growing in Asia, Western North America and Southern Europe. They are called 恵比須草 (ebisugusa, paeonia lactiflora) in Japanese. The roots of peonies are used as traditional medicine in China. Therefore they are regarded as a traditional floral symbol of wealth and nobility, also for good luck. Canaries 金糸雀 (kanaria) are a symbol of freshness and healing energies.

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Art on Tuesday: Moon Pine

This ukiyo-e was painted by Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 (1797-1858). It is part of his “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” showing the so-called moon pine  上野山内月のまつ.  It is named moon pine because people liked to watch the moon through the loop of the tree from different angles. Moon watching was popular in these days and maybe it is still today.

Another ukiyo-e of the same series is showing the pine tree from a different perspective: here you can see it standing in front of the Kiyomizu Hall beside the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno/Tokyo and can be viewed even today. The picture is called Kiyomizu-do and Shinobazu Pond at Ueno.

Art on Tuesday: Drum Bridge

This beautiful artwork by Yoshida Hiroshi 吉田 博 (1876-1950) is called Drum bridge at the Kameido shrine in Tôkyô and was painted in 1927. This bridge and the garden of the Kameido shrine 亀戸天神社 are very popular in Japan and were painted by many artists throughout history.

Art on Tuesday: Irises and Frog

Watanabe Seitei 渡辺 省亭 (1851-1918) painted Irises and Frog in 1916, an elegant  and charming ukiyo-e.

Watanabe was a Japanese artist, who visited Europe early in the 19th century, where he was awarded at the Universal Exposition of 1878 in Paris. He lived in France for three years studying and practising art. He is known in and outside Japan as a wonderful artist, who combined Japanese and Western elements in his paintings, ceramics, cloisonné and illustrations.

Art on Tuesday: Clearing Weather

This picture is called: Awazu seiran 粟津 晴嵐 Mountain vapor of Awazu. From the series Eight Views of Ômi 近江八景. It is made by Kitao Masayoshi 北尾 政美, also known as Kuwagata Keisai 鍬形蕙斎 (1764-1824).

The inscription of the poem is given here at the website of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Art on Tuesday: Landscape

Totoya Hokkei 魚屋 北渓 (1780–1850) painted this picture in 1827. His ukiyo-e are often combined with poems as he illustrated several books. He is well-known as an excellent pupil of Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾 北斎.

Art on Tuesday: Lucky Dream

This ukiyo-e made by Totoya Hokkei 魚屋 北渓 (1780-1850) is one of three pictures of a series. This one is called: First Dream of Mount Fuji in a Set of Three 初夢三番 富士.

Hatsuyume (初夢) means the first dream in the first night of a new year, which is foreseeing the future of the coming year. According to the traditional Japanese calendar January 2 is therefore named hatsuyume. Mount Fuji is always a symbol of good luck.  

You can find a Japanese inscription of the poem at the website of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Art on Tuesday: Makeup

Kobayakawa Kiyoshi 小早 川清 (1897-1948) painted this Japanese woman.  The Japanese artist produced several pictures of women in daily situations. This one shows a woman applying her makeup. It is a very beautiful and graceful scene. The woodblock print is the second of his ukiyo-e series called: Fashions of the Modern World. Makeup. 近代時世粧ノ内  二 化粧 . As written in the subtitle of the picture. 

Source: Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Art on Tuesday: The Jewel River of Bush Clover

Utagawa Toyoharu 歌川豊春 (c. 1735-1814) painted a series of ukiyo-e called The Fashionable Six Jewel Rivers 風流六玉川. This one is showing the Jewel River of Bush Clover 萩 in Yamashiro, a historical province located in today’s south of Kyôto. These jewel rivers or crystal rivers were painted by ukiyo-e artists often. You clearly see an influence of Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木 春信 (c. 1725-1770) in the style of this woodblock print.

Source: MFA Boston

Art on Tuesday: Leisure in the Floating World

Ukiyo-e by Torii Kiyonobu I 鳥居 清信 (1664–1729) painted around 1720. He is one of the founders of the Torii-school of painting and known for his Kabuki related motifs. This picture is named: 浮世つれずれ. Two women of the pleasure quarters are reading in their leisure time.

Source: Museum of Fine Arts Boston