Flower Pavilion near Dangozaka Slope in Sendagi is a delightful painting from the world famous series of Hiroshige, which captured One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
The Japanese landscape takes centre stage here, just as with all the rest of this exciting set of designs. We find an assortment of houses in the far distance, surrounded by shrubs and a lining of trees just behind. In the foreground we find a stunning array of white flowering trees which merge together to form a mass of colour across the full width of this composition. Below those is the water’s edge, with a group of people enjoying the beauty of this rare moment, when colour comes to the fore. In Japan it is common to celebrate the flowering of certain plants, particularly if it only happens within a short window each year. Flowers would also be a key element to Hiroshige’s work, as well as the reset of the ukiyo-e period, more generally.
It is actually, though, the clouds within the centre of this composition that are most memorable. Hiroshige uses a gradient of red on their edges to help them stand out and their purpose is to separate the artwork into two different areas. This also exaggerates the sloping nature of this scene, leaving the figures looking smaller and much lower in comparison to the collection of houses in the hills above. A stone walkway leads up from underneath the clouds all the way up to the homes above, with possibly some sculptured elements added to the side of this walkway. This was an artist who was highly skilled in landscape painting, having specialised in it throughout most of his career, other than in his early years where he was just trying to establish a style for the first time.