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Hodogaya on the Tokaido Road
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Group: The Series

Artist: Katsushika HOKUSAI
Birth/Death: 1760–1849

Title: Hodogaya on the Tokaido Road
Date Made: c.1830-5

Lender: Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
Credit Line: Mary A. Ainsworth Bequest, 1950

Before the time of Hokusai the realistic portrayal of a scene had not been a part of traditional Japanese art. The use of perspective, shading, and three-dimensional drawing, deriving from European art had an undeniable impact on non-traditional Japanese artists. They gradually included these elements of expression in their work. The use of realistic methods such as Western perspective had an undeniable impact on Japanese artists, especially of the Ukiyo-e school.

In Hodogaya on the Tokaido Road, Mount Fuji is seen through a screen of twisted pines, planted to offer protection from the weather. In the foreground a lively group of travellers make their way from Edo, to the imperial capital, Kyoto.

For Monet, a screen of trees framing a background offered interesting compositional possibilities. He explored these possibilities in his ‘Poplar’ series. Foreground and background are painted with little indication of the space between them. This seems to bring the background forward one moment, then push it back the next, helping to create a visually intriguing composition.

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