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Master of Composition: Hiroshige and His Innovative Woodblock Prints

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0353
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Materials for this program

No. 45 Ishiyakushi: Yoshitsune's Cherry Tree and Shrine of Noriyori (Utagawa Hiroshige / National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) was one of the last great masters of the Japanese woodblock print, credited with firmly establishing landscape as a distinctive genre within the art form. As domestic travel became more accessible to ordinary Japanese people over the course of the 19th century, Hiroshige’s captivating vistas of mountains, forests, and waters resonated with a new audience of tourists. They have become some of the most enduring imagery to represent the Japanese archipelago.

Hiroshige was a master of composition. He radically cropped and reframed existing black-and-white images to suit the dimensions of the print format, adding the saturated colors that are one of the most compelling facets of the traditional Japanese woodblock print. Hiroshige is less well-known than his older contemporary Katsushika Hokusai, although Hiroshige also made significant contributions to the genre.

National Museum of Asian Art curator Kit Brooks examines Hiroshige’s training, departures from conventional woodblock print subjects, and unconventional aesthetics.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

General Information

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.