View to the North from Asukayama Hill Hiroshige Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Within View to the North from Asukayama Hill, we see how portrait-shaped landscape paintings can work beautifully. The dimensions make the view across this view point even more breathtaking, with more detail added into the foreground than found in the distance.

There is a multitude of figures found wandering around Asukayama Hill, clearly enjoying the leisure time that a growing number of Japanese workers were now starting to experience for the first time. The Ukiyo-e period more generally was all about reflecting the changing nature of Japanese society, though in some case it was censored when deemed to have stepped out of line by the authorities. Hiroshige rarely met with the same resistance for he stayed away from controversial topics such as political satire or adult-level themes, prefering to focus on the beauty of this stunning nation. In his early years there was a certain amount of experimentation in order to find the right path, but once he arrived in this genre, he rarely left. You will find within his career a refined approach to landscape painting, as well as several new techniques which had done been seen before in Japanese woodblock printing.

The painting itself captures two types of trees in the foreground, both of which tower over the human figures below. Hiroshige would often indicate the vulnerability of humanity against nature within his works. As they look across the great expanse, there is minimal detail between themselves and the mountains in the far background. At the very top, we find a harsh gradient of blue which is typical of this artist, though he normally made use of this technique in a more subtle manner. The intention here is clearly to focus on those in the foreground, and then look up to the mountains which they had congregated in order to enjoy together. The elements in between are merely there to give a sense of distance and perspective. Japanese art during the Ukiyo-e era made use of different styles of perspective in art as compared to their European counterparts, though we do know that each studied the alternative versions during their respective days as art students.

View to the North from Asukayama Hill in Detail Hiroshige