ASIA212Varley

Ikkus most popular work the picaresque hizakurige a

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Unformatted text preview: Howard Mansfield Collection, Rogers Fund, 1936) his own unique style. Hokusai’s better landscapes display a superb sense of design and proportion and a compassionately human concern for the figures, often from the lower classes, who inhabit them. Hokusai has enjoyed great favor in the West, and some of his prints, along with those of Hiroshige, have become as well known to Western art lovers as the more famous masterpieces of their own tradition. The case of Hokusai is an excellent illustration of cross-cultural exchange, for here was a Japanese artist who borrowed from the West and at the same time contributed, along with the ukiyo-e school in general, a new and exotic inspiration to the French Impressionists and other Western artists of the late nineteenth century. Hiroshige, although he painted other subjects, was much more of a spet in landscapes than the extraordinarily dynamic and versatile Hokusai. In a Hokusai landscape, attention is often divided between the setting and the people in it; but in Hiroshige’s work, everything is subordinated to the setting and especially to the mood established by season, weather, time of day, and angle of view. Moreover, while Hokusai’s figures, as they go about their business, frequently provide an element of genre interest to his landscapes, Hiroshige’s are usually mere reminders of the insignificance of man against the vastness of nature (figs. 63–64). In this, Hiroshige would appear to be an inheritor of the spirit of the Chinese and Japanese masters of monochrome landscapes; and even though Fig. 63 “Cutting a Log” from “The 100 Poems Explained by the Nurse” by Hokusai (courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum) Fig. 64 “Evening Rain at Azuma no Mori” by Hiroshige (courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum) Heterodox Trends 229 Hiroshige depicts far more dramatic seasonal and weather changes in his prints, there is an underlying tranquility to them that is also very reminiscent of the earlier monochrome work. Hiroshige achieved his greatest fame in a series of prints entitled “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tòkaidò,” depicting scenes along the great highway connecting...
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