The one hundred views of Edo by Ando Totikaro, better known as Hiroshige (1797-1858), is one of the most famous artistic productions of all time. The art of the Ukiyo-e School or Popular Painting was the expression of a singular and isolated civilization. It had considerable influence on European art, and both Monet and Van Gogh drew much inspiration from it. Hiroshige was the pupil of Toyohiro in Edo. When his teacher died, Hiroshige moved to Kyoto and set up his own studio. The sets of prints he created there, many of them views on the Tokaido road, made him famous and early European visitors began buying and bringing them back to Europe, setting off a craze for Japanese art. The compositions in this series of prints never repeat themselves and are of astonishing diversity. The contrast of planes, the richness of motifs and the splendor of the colors reveal the extraordinary talent of Hiroshige.
This study is dedicated to the analysis of the artistic qualities of a selection of the prints in Russian museums, and also of earlier works. The history of the Ukiyo-e style in Hiroshige and other practioners is discussed. The illustrations are accompanied by explanations and poetic captions.