Blooming plum garden in Kameido

Utagawa Hiroshige • Print, 1857, 33.7×22 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Print
Subject and objects: Landscape
Style of art: Ukiyo-e
Technique: Woodcut
Materials: Paper
Date of creation: 1857
Size: 33.7×22 cm
Artwork in selections: 58 selections

Description of the artwork «Blooming plum garden in Kameido»

Engraving Hiroshige "Blooming plum garden in Kameido" - 30-th sheet in a series of woodcuts "One hundred famous views of Edo". Despite the name, there are a total of 119 (including cover sheet added by the publisher). However, 3 of the prints were created after the death of the master his pupil Shigenobu, who in honor of the master alias Hiroshige II.

The first Hiroshige began work on the series two years before his death, which befell him during the outbreak of a cholera epidemic. Compared to other Japanese centenarians (like his predecessor Hokusaiwho lived almost 90 years), he was given quite a bit – some 62 years. But during this period, Hiroshige was able to Polish the art of making woodblock prints Ukiyo-e to perfection, and the crazy popularity of the cult of the cycle, convincing evidence.

"Blooming plum garden in Kameido" - one of the two most famous prints of the cycle. But his fame in the West, they must personally Vincent Van Gogh. Big fan of Japanese woodblock prints in General and the art of Hiroshige in particular, he not only was a collector of his prints, but also wrote their own versions of works by Japanese artist (1, 2). Thus the Dutchman in practice learned the artistic techniques of the art of Ukiyo-e.

It is worth noting that paintings of van Gogh, written explanation of the prints of Hiroshige, don't copy them (and certainly this was not). If the Japanese we see peace and a delicate color gradient in the upper sky portion of the sheet and the lower "earth", the canvas of van Gogh breathes searing drama. His sunset sky seems rather ominous, but the plum branches are dangerously prickly.

The tree depicted in the woodcuts of Hiroshige difficult. It even had its own name – Garuba, which translated to YaPONSKOGO means "Lying dragon". So it was called because of the peculiarities of growth. The branches of the mighty plum fell down to the ground, dug into it and again looked out at this distance from the main stem that looked like it was a plum orchard, not one tree.

Garuba was fenced to protect notable plants from the multitude of people flocked to the garden from the very center of Edo (Kameido at that time was a village – a suburb of the capital). But we see them in the distance, behind the fence. The viewer also Hiroshige places close to the powerful trunk of a plum, making a direct accomplice of the picture. This corporate reception of the Japanese masters later adopt the Impressionists.

It is symbolic, but "Lying dragon" did not long survive to perpetuate his artist – only a couple of decades. In 1880 the drain with the prints of Hiroshige would perish in the flood, and in its place erected a memorial.

Author: Natalia Azarenka