Tour of the Tōkaidō (1863) by Utagawa SadahideBujalance Collection
Tōkaidō was a road that ran for around 265 miles (427 km) through the east of Japan, connecting the imperial capital, Kyoto, with the military capital, Edo (now Tokyo). Along it, the government established 53 resting stations where travelers could find food and lodging, and buy supplies.
Fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō, station 23 (1834) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
Hiroshige was born in Edo in 1797. He was orphaned at the age of 12, and 2 years later, in 1811, he joined the famous Utagawa school of ukiyo-e art, led at the time by Toyohiro. In 1812, he was given official authorization to adopt the artistic name Utagawa.
Kyoka Tōkaidō, station 53 (1840) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
Hiroshige is considered to be one of the greatest Japanese landscape artists. His talent took the discipline to unparalleled levels of style and artistry.
Kyoka Tōkaidō, station 35 (1840) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
His works were characterized by his subtle mastery of color, dominated by greens and blues, as well as his use of the foreground.
Kyoka Tōkaidō, station 18 (1840) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
He produced several versions of the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. The central motif is easily identifiable in almost all his depictions of the stations, despite being shown from a different angle in each one.
Fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō, station 32 (1834) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
This was Hiroshige's first series on the Tōkaidō, produced between 1831 and 1834, after he had traveled along the Tōkaidō road. The series, comprising 55 prints, is the artist's best-known work, despite the fact that he produced several others on a similar theme.
Kyoka Tōkaidō, station 23 (1840) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
This series was published between 1839 and 1840. Each print contains a humorous poem, known as kyōka, a word which also appears in the series' title.
Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, station 43 (1852) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
This series was produced between 1850 and 1852. Unlike in Hiroshige's other series, landscapes are not the most important element of the scenes.
Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, station 32 (1852) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
In this series, called Jimbutsu Tōkaidō, the people shown along the Tōkaidō road are the true protagonists, appearing in the foreground.
Vertical Tōkaidō, station 30 (1855) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
This series is known as the tate-e edition, and was produced in 1885. It is the last complete series that he produced of the Tōkaidō road.
Vertical Tōkaidō, station 8 (1855) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
The Upright Tōkaidō is characterized by its pictorial and occasionally lyrical quality, in which the figures are subordinate to the landscape, creating the impression of greater distance.
Fifty-three parallel views of the Tōkaidō, station 11 (1845) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
Fifty-Three Parallel Views of the Tōkaidō
This series was produced in 1845 and was worked on by three of the most significant artists of the Utagawa school: Hiroshige, Kunisada, and Kuniyoshi. It was published by various different publishers and consists of 64 prints.
Fifty-three parallel views of the Tōkaidō, station 55 (1845) by Utagawa HiroshigeBujalance Collection
In the parallel series, every print is divided into two parts. On the top left-hand side is an image framed by whimsical shapes, along with the name of the station and a haiku poem. At the bottom is an image relating to the Tōkaidō station.
The Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô by Two Brushes, station 51 (1852) by Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa KunisadaBujalance Collection
Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō
This series was produced by Hiroshige and Kunisada. At the time, Hiroshige was famous for his landscape prints, while Kunisada was known for his drawings of people. Hiroshige produced the Tōkaidō landscapes that appear at the top of the print, while Kunisada drew the figures in the foreground below.
The Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô by Two Brushes, station 34 (1852) by Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa KunisadaBujalance Collection
The rapport established between Kunisada and Hiroshige in this series was such that, when contemplating the prints that they produced together and the perfect integration between the figures and the landscape, it seems impossible that the work was that of two different artists.