1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hiroshige

HIROSHIGE (1797–1858), Japanese artist, was one of the principal members of that branch of the Ukiyo-ye or Popular School of Painting in Japan, a school which chiefly made colour-prints. His family name was Andō Tokitarō; that under which he is known having been, in accordance with Japanese practice, adopted by him in recognition of the fact that he was a pupil of Toyohiro. The earliest reference to him is in the account given by an inhabitant of the Lu-chu islands of a visit to Japan; where a sketch of a procession drawn with great skill by Hiroshige at the age of ten years only is mentioned as one of the remarkable sights seen. At the age of fifteen he applied unsuccessfully to be admitted to the studio of the elder Toyokuni; but was eventually received by Toyohiro. On the death of the latter in 1828, he began to practise on his own account, but finding small encouragement at Yedo (Tōkyō) he removed to Kiōto, where he published a set of landscapes. He soon returned to Yedo, where his work soon became popular, and was imitated by other artists. He died in that city on the 6th day of the 9th month of the year, Ansei 5th, at the age of sixty-two, and was buried at Asakusa. One of his pupils, Hironobu, received from him the name of Hiroshige II. and another, Ando Tokubei, that of Hiroshige III. All three were closely associated with the work signed with the name of the master. Hiroshige II. some time after the year 1863 fell into disgrace and was compelled to leave Yedo for Nagasaki, where he died; Hiroshige III. then called himself Hiroshige II. He died in 1896. The earlier prints by these artists, whose work can hardly be separated, are of extraordinary merit. They applied the process of colour block printing to the purposes of depicting landscape, with a breadth, skill and suitability of convention that has been equalled only by Hokusai in Japan, and by no European. Most of their subjects were derived from the neighbourhood of Yedo, or were scenes on the old high road—the Tokaidō—that ran from that city to Kiōto. The two elder of the name were competent painters, and pictures and drawings by them are occasionally to be met with.

See E. F. Strange, “Japanese Colour-prints” (Victoria and Albert Museum Handbook, 1904).  (E. F. S.)