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Una Holland

Art 2
Painting in the Style of a Famous Artist

Katsushika Hokusai, better known as just Hokusai, was born into the late Edo period.
In Edo, an originally small fishing village, was always bustling with streets full of merchants,
shops, and people. At night, Edo truly came to life with its theatre scene and other vibrant
happenings. With the Tokugawa rule, the people were peaceful. There wasnt nearly as much
need for samurai. This period had so much emphasis on the arts. Puppet shows became huge,
telling historical stories and romantic stories. There was also a rise in art, with a new
technique to mass produce images and writing people could get their works out to the rest of
the people. These qualities helped to inspire Hokusai, for his art is generally very peaceful
and would be of landscapes rather than the more common images of celebrities and people.
Not only was Hokusai inspired by peace and other arts, but also by his childhood work. At 12
years old, his father sent him to work in a bookshop/lending library where Hokusai read
books on art. At 18 years old, he had the style of art he liked most mastered and was accepted
into a studio. This was the start of some truly incredible art.
By the time he was in the Katsukawa Shansho Studio at 18, he had practically
mastered a whole art form. Most of his works were made from carving into wood boards,
then painting onto them and transferring the wet paint of the image onto paper, leaving the
carved image in its place. His style seems almost minimalist at times, while others using so
much intricate detail. Many of his works are of landscapes, usually of, or of the lands around,
Mt Fuji. These images inspired him due to its beauty as well as his Buddhist religion and the
mountains meaning to him because of that. His paintings were also much more colorful than
many at the time, and not many people were doing landscapes as much as he was anyways. It
was the start of a change in art at the time, when Hokusai began printing and publishing his
art for anyone else to see.

Una Holland
Art 2
Painting in the Style of a Famous Artist

In one of Hokusais 36 Views of Mount Fuji, the Fuji reflects in Lake Kawaguichi,
seen from the Misaka pass in the Kai province of Japan. It was painted sometime during or
after 1830 and this print series is known as the peak of Hokusais career. In the image, a
yellowed Mount Fuji (from the sunset) looms over Lake Kawaguichi. In front of the
mountain, but behind the lake, sits a set of hills with woodsy areas. Theres also a small
village in the middle, its edge against the water. In the lake itself is the reflection of Mount
Fuji, but the reflections peak is on the left whereas the real mountains peak is farther to the
right. There also isnt much detail, but theres more snow in the reflection than the real
mountain above it. This shows the perspective, that Hokusai was not directly in front of this
scene but instead to one side a ways. Theres a person floating to the right, theyre asleep in a
small boat.

Una Holland
Art 2
Painting in the Style of a Famous Artist

Another one of his paintings, Surimono Totsuka, is different from the wood blocks.
Instead, this piece is painted with oils directly onto a canvas. This image is mostly blank,
except for two small hermit crab shell-looking things towards the left side. The farthest left
shell is covered in spikes and flowery shapes and dots. The shell on the right is more twisty
and smooth and appears to have a curled figure coming from the bottom of it, something like

Una Holland
Art 2
Painting in the Style of a Famous Artist

a snail. This seems more like a small sketch that Hokusai just put onto the canvas in
boredom, something similar to writers block. These both show two different sides to
Hokusais thinking and creative process in that way. One clearly took so much time and
examination to paint, the other a small project that seemingly was thrown from his hand some
time in his life.

"Katsushika Hokusai - The Complete Works." Katsushika Hokusai - The Complete Works.
N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
"Life During the Edo Period." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 01
Nov. 2016.