Our Art / Utagawa Hiroshige / Naruto Whirlpool [from series: Views of Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces]

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Naruto Whirlpool [from series: Views of Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces] by Utagawa Hiroshige on the Depict FrameNaruto Whirlpool [from series: Views of Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces] by Utagawa Hiroshige
Naruto Whirlpool [from series: Views of Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces] by Utagawa Hiroshige

Naruto Whirlpool [from series: Views of Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces], 1853

Utagawa Hiroshige

The artist who made this print described his compositional decision-making process: “Everything lacking in taste and grace must be omitted.” He’s reduced this view of a famous whirlpool to its essentials: a soft blue sky with birds, a distant ridgeline, and the sharp rocks, cresting waves and mesmerizing swirl of the maelstrom itself. The blocky shapes that form the water and rocks create a strong presence at center, and the details, like the foam atop the breaking waves, look substantial, yet also animated — almost alive. The swirl’s pattern, at center, inexorably draws the eye — it’s hard to look away.

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Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
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