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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: Kinryūzan Temple in Asakusa

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Ando Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), ‘Kinryuzan Temple in Asakusa,’ from ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,’ 1856, woodcut, 14 x 9 ¼ inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.

“Kinryūzan Temple in Asakusa” depicts Kinryūzan Sensōji Temple, one of the most famous Buddhist sites in Japan. A large lantern in the foreground places the visitor at the threshold of the gate known as Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). The Kaminarimon opens to a winter wonderland, inviting the visitor to join the crowds of people moving towards the Niomon (Guardian Gate). Partially obscured by trees, the Guardian Gate stands to the left of a five-storied pagoda. Dashes of red pop within a world covered in snow, further drawing us into this sacred site.

As a subject, Kinryūzan Sensōji Temple would have had a special resonance for the artist Ando Utagawa Hiroshige. When Hiroshige created works like “Kinryūzan Temple in Asakusa” later in life, he had already dedicated himself to Buddhist monkhood. Despite being one of the most prolific artists of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, Hiroshige was not financially successful and would die just several years after making this woodblock print. This work stands as a testament to his devotion to Japan, Buddhism, and art.

Guest author: Maren Petersen

Past Artworks of the Week

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Artwork of the Week: Joseph Smith Triptych

May 27, 2024
On December 3, 1958, the Gold Y Chapter of the Intercollegiate Knights, a National Honorary Service Fraternity at BYU, presented this triptych to the University.
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Artwork of the Week: John the Baptist

May 20, 2024
At first glance, the abstract imagery of this work may appear unfamiliar to those unaccustomed to its sacred language. However, for Russian Orthodox Christians, this icon is a beautiful invitation to meditate on sacred doctrine.
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Artwork of the Week: Bride and Her Mirror Image

May 13, 2024
Muriel Magenta is a New Genre artist who works with installation, multimedia performance, video, and sculpture. Using an array of technologies and tools to create hybrid works, Magenta explores the interaction of media and audience.
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