I went to the Met on Sunday, mostly just because it was a rainy day, and I didn’t want to just sit around in my apartment all day. They’re running an exhibit right now called “A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Summer and Autumn in Japanese Art.” Most of the items in the exhibit were, I think, things I’d seen before. They displayed a number of prints from “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,” including Sudden Shower on the Great Bridge. I know I’d seen this print, and others from the series, before, but something struck me about it right then, maybe having something to do with the rainy weather outside. I’ve always liked Japanese prints like these, but I never really bothered to learn much about them.
On my way out of the museum, I found this book, marked down to $16, so I picked up a copy. It’s a huge book, with great reproductions of all the prints in the series, and a fair bit of background information. The book was apparently related to an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum some time ago, where they have a full set of prints. Their site has a nice interface for browsing the prints, by season, or by keyword, so you can view, for instance, all the prints with rain or snow in them.
On the way home from the museum, it occurred to me that this series would also make for a pretty cool iPad application. Well, someone else had that idea too: Hiroshige HD is an iOS app containing the Edo series, and several others. It’s only 99 cents right now. There’s not much to it, other than reproductions of the prints, but it’s a fun way to browse through them.