A Shoal of Fishes series of 20, #9 Iseebi & Ebi

Title: A Shoal of Fishes series of 20, #9 ISEEBI & EBI (crawfish/spiny lobster & shrimp/prawn)

Artist: HIROSHIGE, Ando, Japanese, 1797-1858

Date: 1840

Repository: Wetmore Print Collection, Art History Dept, Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College, New London

Donated by Prof. Caroline Black, Botany Dept, Connecticut College

Size: Image, 26 x 36 cm

Material/Medium: ink on paper, color woodcut

Description: A Print depicting a spiny lobster and two shrimp. There is minimal background but high detail in the depiction of the lobster, including full coloring, clear lines, and attention to accuracy in anatomy and correct proportions. There is also a golden-hour-esque color scheme for the background, with a yellow to white to blue gradient. The light blue and golden yellow/orange background suggests a beach or ocean setting.

Analysis: In comparison to Japanese scrolls/screens, there is a lack of detail in terms of background details. The print draws upon the coloring of a ocean/beach, without explicitly showing the expected features or details of one, and instead keeping the focus on the lobster and the shrimp. The print also has the lobster (the main subject) take up most of the space, and does not leave much room for any ordered storytelling. It has only one or two areas to look at, and there is no order or series of ideas that are told, rather, the viewer takes in the detail of the spiny lobster, and does not need to interpret or figure out a story too much farther from that.

References: Connecticut College Japanese Prints Collections inventory.

Author: Louis Benioff

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