Ando Hiroshige (Japanese, 17971858)
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper; 8 7/8 x 13 3/4 in. (22.5 x 34.9 cm)
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936 (JP2492)
This woodblock print depicts a simple mountain village covered with thick and heavy snowthe roofs of the houses, the trees, and the mountains are all weighted down by a white, snowy blanket. The three travelers, stooped over and clutching their cloaks around them, trudge along in the foreground of the composition. The entire scene expresses the mood of a hushed, frigid, midwinter day.
Evening Snow at Kanbara is from the well-known series Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido (the title of which is inscribed at the top of the print, while the artist's signature appears at the left) that Hiroshige designed depicting the picturesque resting stations situated on the well-traveled coastal road between Kyoto and Edo (modern Tokyo). This series of fifty-five prints were first printed in 1834. Kanbara is situated on Suruga Bay, in line of sight of Mount Fuji. While an actual place, Hiroshige's rendering of Kanbara is largely fanciful and does not closely resemble the location itself.
Ando Hiroshige, a native of Edo, was a very successful woodblock print designer, illustrator, and painter. After the death of his parents, he was apprenticed to the ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Toyohiro (1773ca. 1828). While his earliest prints were depictions of courtesans and actors, he became known for his pictures of birds and flowers and landscapes, especially scenic spots on the Tokaido road from Kyoto to Edo. Drawing on a wide range of influences, Hiroshige used various painting techniques to produce innovative woodblock print images and to add a sense of atmosphere and lyricism to his compositions.