japonisme: inheriting the wind, and the water...

08 June 2007

inheriting the wind, and the water...

hiroshige was a fireman. his family was too poor for him to try to make it on his own as an artist.

but he had had the artist's spirit since he was a child, and spent many years working, travelling, and being inspired by hokusai, slightly his predecessor.

the patience paid off because when he made it big, he made it with images from his travels; drawn from life, they were of great interest to a populace that was developing into a 'middle class,' one that travelled itself.

as we have discussed, while his work still appears to us as purely japanese, western artistic characteristics (shadows, reflections, and perspective) had begun to make an appearance in his work, along with great gradations of color--a result of
both his acquaintance with western art, and his involvement with a printing industry that was improving rapidly.

when we see the work of the yoshidas, of kawase hasui, of fletcher, phillips, riviere or any of the rest of the direct descendants of hiroshige's experimentation we have mentioned here, we can remember hiroshige's death poem:

i don't want to set
the world on fire.
i just want to start
a flame in your heart.1

(oh please please forgive me. the real one is here.)

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Blogger harlequinpan said...

How nice this death poem!Beautiful and touching .Homage to Hiroshige!i think he really understand the earth not just landscape.

08 June, 2007 20:46  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

you always bring such insight to your comments, hp, and i think you manage to put complicated thoughts into simple language

08 June, 2007 21:11  
Blogger Michael said...

I think I prefer your version to the verse on Wikipedia.

09 June, 2007 16:04  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

well, Bennie Benjamin, Eddie Durham, Sol Marcus, and Eddie Seiler thank you. :^)

have you met the ink spots?

09 June, 2007 19:53  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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