KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI (1760-1849)

Katsushika Hokusai (31 October 1760 – 10 May 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period, as well as being the author of popular Japanese writings, mainly known as Hokusai (北斎), or by his nickname "The Old Man Mad About Art".


Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Katsushika Hokusai is regarded as one of the most influential and creative minds in the history of Japanese art. His unique social observations, innovative approach to design and mastery of the brush made him famous in Edo-period Japan and globally recognised within a decade of his death.


Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku Sanjūroku-kei, c. 1831) which includes the internationally iconic print; “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”.


Hokusai writes:

“From the age of six, I had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking into account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even further penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvellous and divine. When I am one hundred and ten, each dot, each line will possess a life of its own.”

 
 

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