December 21, 2017
Ando Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Figures in Snow, no date, woodcut, 9 11/16 x 6 5/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1993.
This striking image of a woman and her servant in the snow was created by an apprentice of Japanese artist Hiroshige, who was adopted into the master’s family after the death of his own son in 1858. After Hiroshige’s death, the apprentice then known as Shigenobu took a variation of his master’s name, Hiroshige Ichiryusai, and became widely known as Hiroshige II. He continued the landscape style of his master, although his work was less inventive and original than Hiroshige’s. The picturesque snow-covered tree branches in this print form a lovely lacework against the dark sky. The two figures and their poses are borrowed literally from Hiroshige’s 1853 print Snow Scene with Two Ladies at Ochanomizu.