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Daily Helping for July 29th, 2021 – Journey Along the Kisokaidō: From Hiroshige to Kuniyoshi

An image from the Journey Along the Kisokaidō: From Hiroshige to Kuniyoshi exhibition. The image is of a green mountain pass, connected by a bridge with travellers walking over it.

It’s time for another visit to a museum! This time I visited the Musée Cernuschi to see the exhibition Journey Along the Kisokaidō: From Hiroshige to Kuniyoshi. I had wanted to see this exhibition since last summer, and let’s just say it did not disappoint. In fact, Journey Along the Kisokaidō marked the first time ever that I purchased the catalogue after visiting an exhibition. Usually I rely on my memories and my own photos to remember the artworks on display, but this exhibition was different. There was so much more going on in the artworks that I wanted to look up later, I had to have a record of them. Hence the catalogue purchase.

So what exactly is Journey Along the Kisokaidō? In a nutshell, the Kisokaidō was a route that connected Kyoto with modern day Tokyo during the Edo Period of Japan. This exhibition showcased works of ukiyo-e artists who documented life along this route, primarily in the 19th century. I loved all of the pieces, but my favourites were the works of Utagawa Kuniyoshi. He used the 69 stations of the Kisokaidō as inspiration to explore the many stories of Japanese mythology and folklore. Meaning every piece was telling a story, but every placard beside each piece only gave a one or two line summary of it.

That is the main reason why I bought the catalogue. I know practically nothing about Japanese mythology and folklore, but I absolutely want to know more. And now I have an entire book full of places to start. I know I say it a lot, but I’ll say it again. I love art.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!