Original drawing in sumi, with pentimenti, on very thin paper as usual for the preparatory drawings. This sketch has been used in one of the prints of the series Ogura Imitation of 100 Poems by 100 Poets, (Ogura Nazorae Hyakunin Isshu) associated with the poem by Gon Chūnagon Atsutada.
See a fine impression of the print related to this drawing at the next number of this catalogue.
Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu was a Japanese noblewoman and waka poet of the late Heian and early Kamakura periods. She left a personal anthology, the Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu Shū. The events of her life take place at the time of the battle of Dan-no-Ura which sees the defeat of the Taira clan. The drawing and the print show us the noblewoman as a Buddhist nun, after the death of her lover Taira Sukemori at Dan-no-Ura.
Born in Edo in 1797, Hiroshige whilst still a teenager, was allowed to work in the studio of Utagawa Toyohiro, an artist with a preference for classical and landscape subjects. He studied also Nanga painting under the artist Ooka Umpo. In the 1812 he adopted the name Hiroshige. The first prints to be published under this name were images of beautiful women, a few surimono and landscapes in small format. In 1831 Hiroshige designed a successful series of Sights of Edo. In 1832 he accompanied the annual procession from Edo to the emperor in Kyoto along the Tokaido. During the journey, he sketched the scenes which he later put into the fifty-five prints which made up the celebrated series of views of the fifty-three post stations on the route. The series was revolutionary, the scenes had a naturalness and sense of immediacy that provoked instant popular appeal. This established Hiroshige as the painter of Tokaido scenes and, subsequently, he produced some thirty series on the same theme. Many highly successful landscape series would follow such as the Sixty-nine Stages on the Kiso Highway, the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, the Thirty six Views of Mount Fuji. In his declining years, in addition to landscapes, he created an unique style in depicting birds and flowers.