Andro Hiroshige

 

Artist Biography:

Utagawa Hiroshige was born in 1797 in Edo (Tokyo). He was also referred to as Andō or Andro Hiroshige, which was an irregular combination of family name and artistic name, and by Ichiyūsai Hiroshige. Hiroshige was one of the last great ukiyo-e or "pictures of the floating world" masters of the wood-block colour print. His subjects included flowers, fish and birds, but his most important prints were landscapes, often intimate, lyrical scenes of snow, rain, mist or moonlight. He was even more successful than his contemporary, Hokusai, together with whom he is considered one of the dominant figures of printmaking during the first half of the nineteenth century. His natural inclination towards drawing marked him for an artistic life. He first attempted to enter the studio of the extremely successful Utagawa Toyokuni but was rejected. Thus, he eventually embarked on an apprenticeship with the noted Utagawa Toyohiro but was again rejected on his first attempt to enter Toyohiro's studio. Upon a subsequent attempt in 1811, he was accepted at the age of 15. Toyohiro bestowed upon him the name "Utagawa" after only a year rather than the usual period of two or three years. Hiroshige later took his master's name, becoming "Ichiyūsai Hiroshige." In his early apprenticeship to Toyohiro, he showed little sign of artistic genius and did not publish many works. Despite earning his artistic name "Ichiyūsai Hiroshige" and school license at the young age of 15, Hiroshige's first genuinely original publications came six years later in 1818. However, it was not until the publication of Hiroshige's Famous Places in the Eastern Capital in 1831 that he attracted attention from both the public and the Imperial court. In 1856, Hiroshige retired from professional life and became a Buddhist monk. In the same year, he also began his celebrated series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. He died, aged 62, during the great Edo cholera epidemic of 1858 although it is unclear whether it was the epidemic that killed him. Hiroshige was buried in a Zen Buddhist temple in Asakusa. Hiroshige’s genius spread to the West during the 19th century and his talents were recognised by the Impressionists and Post Impressionists, many of whom were influenced by his works. Today, Hiroshige is represented in the art museums of Tokyo, London, New York City and Boston.

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