Hokusai Katsushika, Musashi Senju, 36 Views of Mount Fuji

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DUC246
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Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849)
Title: Musashi Senju
Series: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi
Date: circa 1829-1833
Size: 37.2 x 24.4 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print. 

 

This print shows the view of Mount Fuji from Senju in Musashi Province. Three men, a horse and a structure of wooden beams with Mount Fuji surrounded by nature in the background are depicted. The men are gazing at the mountain in the distance with their backs turned towards the viewer.

 

Woodblock print series revolving around Japan's most famous mountain has been created by many artists over the years, each in a particular style. Hokusai's series, "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji", has a few key elements that make it stand out from the crowd.

 

Typical for a print by Hokusai, this image has an imaginative composition that is unusual for ukiyo-e. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Hokusai often chose to show Mount Fuji framed by objects placed in the middle and foreground of the image. In this case, one side of the sloping mountain is framed and empathised by a structure of wooden beams.

 

An avid interest in geometric forms is another feature of this series. When Mount Fuji is involved, Hokusai's characters often become extensions of the shape of the mountain. Here, the fisherman's raised arm draws the viewer's eye to Mount Fuji and simultaneously extends its slope throughout the print. The same sloping shape is indicated in the lowered neck of the horse.

 

This artist's talent for mixing Western perspective with a Japanese aesthetic is also worth mentioning. The wide expanses of his images seem to invite the viewer to enter their landscape and achieve a sense of space unparalleled by any other artist of the genre during the Edo period.

Hokusai Katsushika (1760 - 1849)


Hokusai Katsushika is considered to be one of the greatest artists within Japan as well as the entire art community worldwide. While prints of beautiful women (bijinga) and prints of actors (yakusha-e) were popular in the ukiyo-e during that time, Hokusai distinguished himself in a new field in ukiyo-e, landscapes. Born in Edo (today’s Tokyo), he initially trained as an engraver. At the age of 18 he became a student of Katsukawa Shunsho (1726-1792) producing kabuki actors prints.

Hokusai devoted almost all of his 90 years of life to drawing and painting. Never satisfied with one technique or mastering one style of drawing, he always sought to improve as an artist. In the mid-1810s, the first volume of ‘Hokusai’s Manga’ was published. This series of sketchbooks consists of 15 volumes in total, covering a wide variety of subjects and is often referred to as a series of instructional drawing manuals intended to serve as a kind of textbooks for those who wanted to become artists.

In the early 1820s, Hokusai started working on the series ‘Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji’, which was finally published in 1830. It is certainly his most famous body of work and is often considered his best. The series actually consists of 46 images, with designs such as ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, ‘Fine Wind, Clear Weather’, and ‘Rain Storm Beneath the Summit’, known worldwide. His other famous series ‘A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces’ also appeared around this time period. In the mid-1830s, his illustrated book ‘One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji’ was published. Filled with depictions of the mountain in often dynamic compositions, this book, alongside ‘Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji’, established Hokusai as the ‘Mt. Fuji artist’.

His last major print series, 'One Hundred Poems Narrated by the Nurse', was published between 1835 and 1838. After that, the artist focused on Japanese traditional paintings until his death.

Hokusai used over 50 names to sign his works and had achievements in various fields as an artist. His influences stretched across the globe to his western contemporaries in nineteenth-century Europe with Japonism, which started with a craze for collecting Japanese art, particularly ukiyo-e. He influenced the Impressionism movement, with themes echoing his work appearing in the work of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as well as the Art Nouveau style.

More Information
Print FormatOban (Horizontal)
ArtistHokusai Katsushika (1760 - 1849)
SubjectMale & Female, Landscapes, Animals & Birds
Size37.2 x 24.4 cm
Condition ReportVertical centrefold. Binding holes on the left edge. Two pinholes in upper right edge. Remains of a sticker on the back. Some stains on the back.
SeriesThirty Six Views of Mount Fuji::Hiroshige I Utagawa::Hokusai Katsushika
publisherNishimuraya Yohachi:1751-1860