Japonaiserie - Bridge in the Rain (after Hiroshige), a photo by PaintingMania on Flickr.
Oil on canvas
73.0 x 54.0 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands.
Hiroshige (1797—1858) was one of the last great masters of the Ukiyo-e in Japan and earned his reputation with series of views featuring the well-known sights of Japan. Vincent copied Hiroshige's print Sudden Shower on the Great Bridge to study the visual effects of the Ukiyo-e aesthetic. He was particularly interested in the formal structure, based on horizontal bands of cool blues and greens, broken only by the foreground diagonal of the yellow bridge. Although Vincent matched his colors to those in the print, he applied his paint with light, short strokes, creating a more vibrant effect than the subtle tones characteristic of the Japanese printing technique. Vincent admired the masterful simplicity and directness of the Japanese art form, exclaiming "I envy the Japanese the extreme clearness which everything has in their work."