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White Rain, Shono

White Rain, Shono, ca. 1830, Color Woodblock Print
Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797 – 1858)

Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige was born in 1797 to a samurai family in the Yaesu area of Edo. Hiroshige began painting not long after his parents’ deaths, studying a variety of Japanese, Chinese, and Western techniques. Hiroshige grew to become an eminent ukiyo-e artist and is considered to be the last great master of the tradition. Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art characterized by paintings and woodblock prints of landscapes, scenes of history, and subjects like beautiful women, sumo wrestlers, and kabuki actors. Hiroshige's fine technique would inspire later artists–like Vincent Van Gogh–to make copies of his works. The artist’s influence on ukiyo-e was so large that his death is widely considered as the beginning of the genre’s decline. White Rain, Shono is a classic example of Hiroshige’s color woodblock prints. The landscape print depicts people walking with umbrellas along a tree-lined road.