A Little Bit Of Hokusai In My Life

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I’m a big fan of Far Eastern prints and watercolors, especially those of Japanese or Chinese origin. So imagine my delight when my  brother gifted me this massive book on the fabulous Japanese artist Hokusai ! The book, whose picture you see below, is more like a really big album featuring this artist’s life-works. I’ve photographed it with a regular sized novel to give you an idea of how impressive these works of art look when I view them in such a larger format.

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Hokusai’s most recognisable painting is The Great Wave of Kanagawa – also depicted on the cover of this book. Many think this depicts a tsunami…but the jury’s out on that one. In the background of this painting stands Mount Fuji, which served as Hokusai’s muse long and strong.

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What intrigues me most however is Hokusai’s Shunga collection. Shunga, which literally means Spring, is an erotic art genre typical to Japan. While erotic imagery is certainly not uncommon in art, some of Hokusai’s works, such as the woodblock print of The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife do startle and engage the viewer with their stunning conception and depiction.

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Hokusai’s influence on the larger world of art cannot be ignored. Motifs common in modern Japanese animation and manga since the late 20th century can trace their roots back to Hokusai’s work. More well-known artists of the western world like Auguste Rodin and Pablo Picasso also found inspiration in Hokusai. In fact, Picasso painted his own version of The Fisherman’s Wife in 1903 which has subsequently been displayed at museums alongside the original.

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One day – some day, I hope to get to Japan and see Hokusai’s original works…..but until then, I paint my own versions of his art, like the painting you see right at the top 🙂 [Also, I learn just how difficult painting miniatures is].

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This is a painting of a woman wearing a beautiful kimono, holding an insect case. I’ve used watercolors and felt-pens on Vellum paper for this. The original work is a painting on silk (546 X 863 mm) now on display at Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo.

 

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