The last major master of the ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) school, Hiroshige lived his entire life in the city of Edo (now Tokyo). In 1831, influenced by Hokusai, whose "Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji" in 1823 introduced the commercial landscape print for a mass audience, Hiroshige began the first of his series of lyrical, dramatic landscape prints that incorporated pictures of famous places (meisho). These evoked the seasonal moods associated, by literary and artistic tradition, with different places during the Edo period (1600–1868).
"One Hundred Famous Views of Edo," composed of 119 landscape and genre woodcuts of mid-nineteenth-century Edo, is an ambitious single-sheet series exhibits the artistic vision and craftsmanship that epitomize the inventiveness of the ukiyo-e color woodcut and the cooperatively employed talents of designer, carver, printer, and publisher.
The Kameido Tenjin Shrine was moved to the east bank of the Sumida River on the outskirts of teh city in the 1660s, when Edo was rebuilt after a horrific fire. Japanese color woodcuts such as this scene, with its detailed close-up of purple wisteria blossoms falling gracefully along a pole with an arched bridge beyond, inspired Claude Monet’s paintings of his water-lily garden at Giverny.
Water under the bridge: This rare early impression features a printing error. The dark blue of the water is extends upward into the sky below the bridge - a mistake corrected in later impressions.