19th Century Japanese Landscapes - Bret Porter

This gallery includes the artwork of Japanese artists during the 19th century which focuses on the landscape of Japan. These artists used different colors, textures, and proportions in order to show the viewer the size of the landscapes in their work, as well as, creating the feeling of actually being at the location of the piece.

Ishiyakushi Station, from Fifty-three Stations depicts two rice farmers gathering and checking on their crop. Utagawa Hiroshige creates a soft feeling in the fields and the cherry blossom tree with the textures and soft colors that are being used. The soft colors are easy on the eyes which creates a very peaceful atmosphere within the piece. The proportion of the farmers and the tree can be compared to the houses that are in the background and the viewer can tell that this is a very large field.
Kawaguchi Zenkoji after Rain shows a group of people approaching their village from a body of water on a boat. Kobayashi Kiyochika shows a small house up close in the focal point of the piece, which also includes the boat of people, that stands out from the rest of the piece in detail and in color. The texture of the water that is created by the line work makes it seem as though there is a small breeze blowing on the water. The texture of the grass around the small house shows this as well; Additionally, that same texture gives the grass a thick, soft look to it. Once again, Kiyochika uses proportion to show how vast the body of water is when comparing the house in the focal point, along with the people, to the village in the background.
Empress Jingu and Takenouchi no Sukune fishing at Chikuzen, from the series Mirror of Famous Generals of Japan shows Empress Jingu with a fish on the end of her line as the other man seems to be celebrating the catch. The looks on their faces show excitement, but, the way the landscape is drawn adds a little bit extra to the piece. For example, the texture given to the water makes it seem very rough which adds to the excitement of getting the fish. The rough texture of the water carries over to the shore that they are standing on. This texture implies that the catch could have been very difficult which is why they are so happy about catching the fish.
Ukiyo-e print of Fukagawa depicts a bridge in a city that is located around a body of water. There are a few boats and as well as a man fishing and people crossing over the bridge. The main focal point of the piece is the bridge itself as it contrasts with the light sky in the background. The plants in this picture are given their full looking size through the texture that Katsushika Hokusai painted them. The bridge itself is very large and can be seen so through the proportion of the people on it when compared to the fisherman in the bottom right by the water. Furthermore, the overall blue hue, as well as the snow on the mountain peak in the background create a cold, winter-like environment in this piece.
Yoshitsune Falls shows two older men bathing a horse in a river with a waterfall. The textures and lines of the piece give it a very alive feeling. For example, the water looks like it is rushing with the splashing mist and the foam. The bushes and greenery against the mountains stand out due to their contrasting color and their bush-like textures. The horse and men also give movement to the piece, in so far as, the man on the left seems to be struggling to keep the horse steady as the other man is washing it down. Unlike the other pieces in this gallery, this piece doesn't have much proportion when it comes to the depth of the landscape. For the most part, the landscape of this piece is mostly flat and needs to be studied a bit more to see the actual depth of the environment.
Shinagawa Station shows a vast landscape of a city between a field and the ocean. There are people walking along the cliff in the right of the piece that really give proportion to the landscape as well as the houses and the ships in the water. The people are very small themselves which give off the feeling that the city in the middle of the piece is rather large. Additionally, this proportion gives off the feeling that the body of water on the other side of the city must be very vast. Although it is hard to tell if they are people or not, the viewer can see small objects in each of the boats which, when compared to the people on the cliff, would make those boats rather large. Other than the proportion, Utagawa Hiroshige once again uses the texture in the field to make is look like it has patches of vegetation throughout and to give it that feeling of a field.
Mount Fuji at sunset on Lake Suruga shows two duck hunters wading through shallow water in Lake Suruga. The hunter on the left is carrying a few ducks while the one on the right seems to be the one shooting them. The proportion here comes from artist Kobayashi Kiyochika adding amazing detail to the landscape in the focal point of the picture that slowly leaves the picture as the viewer's eyes get farther away from it. There is a small patch of land that sticks out on the left side of the piece right next to the hunter that the viewer can tell is a good ways away from the two hunters. The misty look and the lack of detail gives off this feeling. Seen in the background is Mount Fuji which is known to be very tall, but, the lack of detail compared to the close up landscape really gives off the depth of the landscape in this piece. The texture that is used in the water and plants gives off a very quiet feeling that is only amplified by the hunter's body language, who seem to be moving along very stealthily in the water trying not to scare away their quarry.
Surimono: Treasure ship entering Edo Bay shows a harbor in the bay with a large ship entering as well as a group of people walking along the shore. The focal point of this piece is the treasure ship that is entering the harbor. It stands out from the rest of the ships and almost all of the rest of the piece other than the people. Keisai Eisen did this in order to allow the proportion of the ship to be seen. The people in the "front" of the piece can be compared to the man in the rowboat in the water. This gives the piece the depth it needs in order to show the size of the ships in the harbor, more importantly, the size of the Treasure ship that is entering the harbor. Keisai Eisen used texture in the water to bring the waves to life as well as the plants along the shoreline at the bottom and middle right of the piece. The lines in the water were drawn in such a way that it shows them to be a little bit rough and it gives the water movement as the treasure ship enters the harbor.
Snowy Morning at Koishikawa shows a village in the mountains with what can be seen as a fresh layer of snow fall. There is a group of people in a house on the left side of the piece which is the focal point. There are many houses in the piece that are getting smaller as they get closer to the mountain in the distance which gives off the feeling of depth in the landscape. The trees help add to this effect while they too get smaller and less detailed the further away from the focal point, the main house. The proportion of the trees and the houses in this piece lends itself to the size of the mountain in the background and just how far away it is form the house with the people inside of it. The texture of the trees with the layer of snow on them add a little bit more to this depth since the amount of texture in them seems to get smaller as they get smaller and further away.
Tsuchiyama station shows people walking along a rocky shoreline of a body of water that is along the edge of a forest. There is a lot of texture and detail in this piece that bring it to life. The rocks around the people don't seem to be too large, however they seem to stay the same size in the water which is further away from the people, depicting that the rocks in the water are actually larger than those on the shoreline. To add to this depth the trees in the middle of the piece seem to be very large when compared to the house at the center of them, and, there seems to be ore of the same type of trees at the top of the mountain, however, they are very small. The trees also have a texture that makes the viewer believe that it is a very thickly wooded area with a lot of trees. The texture that is given to the water around the rocks in the middle give the water a feeling of slow movement as if it is a slow moving river or a lake with a small tide.
Credits: All media
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