Utagawa Hiroshige - A Japanese Ukiyo-E Artist
Utagawa Hiroshige was born in 1797. He was the only son of Andogen'emon. As a child, Hiroshige's name used to change regularly. He was known by so many names like Juemon, Tukobe, and Tetsuzo. Hiroshige's family was full of samurais, and they were the highest in four Japanese castes. They live in the Yayosu riverbank, which was in Edo's area, now known as Tokyo, and it became the capital of the Japenese kingdom in 1603.
When he was three years old, his elder sister died, his mother died in 1809, at that time he was eleven with all the death, his father also died after his twelfth birthday, his life was filled with tragedy and death. But before the death of his father, he passed on his hereditary title to Hiroshige. Many people pursued other occupations rather than fire service. There is no clear information about how he chose the medium or painting and printmaking. Some people say one of the fire service employees, Okajima Rinsai introduced him to the painting world when he was nine years old.
An artist, Toyokuni, inspired him, but he got rejected when he applied for admission. In 1811, he was accepted in Utagawa Tomohiro, a ukiyo-e artist. He has specialization in prints of actors from kabuki theatres and many other figures. He took his master's name and learned a lot, and made his professional name Utagawa Hiroshige. Like his master, he started with woodblock painting, creating illustrative comic poems, kabuki figures, and beautiful women portraits.
In 1821, he married the daughter of a fireman, Okabe Yuaemon, and his first son Takahiro was also born in the same year. When he began the work on the landscape, he became famous. In 1831, Hiroshige published a series of 10 parts, "famous view of the eastern capital." When he discovered his talent for landscape, he constantly worked from 1834 to 1839. That was the time when all his best work was published. His talent for landscape painting was much better than any other artist in Tokyo. In his lifetime, Hiroshige produced 5000 designs.
In 1858, Hiroshige fell ill due to the cholera epidemic, which took 28,000 lives in Japan. At that time, he said a poem that was
"I live my brush to Azuma.
I go to the land of the west on a journey to view the famous sites there."
When he died, he was 62 years old. And he was buried in the Zen Buddhist temple in Asakusa.