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Japanese Woodblock Prints

Take a look at (and free to download, if you wish) over 1,000 Japanese woodblock prints by Master Hiroshige.

With rich colors and distinct aesthetics, Japanese woodblock prints blossomed from 1603 to 1868, in the Edo era. During this time, Japan was mostly closed off from the outside world, and only a handful of Dutch and Chinese traders were allowed inside with severe restrictions. So, the style of ukiyo-e, which literally means “pictures of a floating world,” offers a window into what life was like before the country reopened.

Among the many masters of this trade, Utagawa Hiroshige was one of the most influential. Not only was he incredibly prolific, but he also created some of the best-known images of Japanese life during the Edo era.

Now, fans of the historical art form can learn more about the process and even look at prints in close detail from their home. The Minneapolis Institute of Art recently made their extensive digital collection of woodblock prints by Hiroshige available to view and even download via their website. Within this 1,000+ image archive are examples of his landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, and more - many of which influenced painters like Monet and Van Gogh.

Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art's website to view and download Hiroshige's woodblock prints.

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