Hokusai Katsushika, Poet Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849)
Title: The Poet Kakinomoto no Hitomaro and Fuji
Series: 100 Views of Mt Fuji, volume 2
Publisher: Toheiki-do (Eirakuya Toshiro)
Size: 21.9 x 27 cm
Original Japanese woodblock print.
This print is from the series One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, published between 1835 and 1880. Hokusai evidently had a deep connection to the mountain, which had become a place of worship and pilgrimage for ascetic Buddhists and Shinto sects alike. The series followed Hokusai’s successful colour prints of thirty-six views of Mount Fuji. Though in absence of colour, the one hundred views series displays Hokusai's unique composition, sometimes challenging the viewer to spot the playfully concealed peak of Mount Fuji.
Ranked as one of the thirty six immortal poets, Kakinomoto no Hitomaru was an aristocratic waka poet of the late Asuka Period (c. 538-710) in Japan. His poetry was known for its length, and dealt with public ceremonial occasions, as well as personal issues such as the loss of his wife and the incident where he saw a corpse.
An example of his Waka poetry is his composition On the Heavens:
'On the sea of the heavens
Waves of cloud arise,
The moon-a boat-
Amongst a forest of stars
Rows on, hidden, or so it seems.'
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.
|Print Format||Double Page|
|Dimensions||21.9 x 27 cm|
|Condition Report||Backing, pages joined together, minor stains at bottom.|
|Series||One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji, Volume 2|