Viewport width =
March 6, 2006 | by  | in Visual Arts |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Art To Know For Dinner Party Conversations

Katsushika Hokusai
The Breaking Wave Off Kanagawa (from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji)
c. 1826-1833

Last week we looked at Edouard Manet, who was causing a stir in nineteenth century Paris. This week we have an artist from Japan who was influential on Manet and his impressionist contemporaries. The Japanese artist Hokusai (one of the many names he assumed during his life) worked during the Edo period (1615-1868) and was both an extraordinarily prolific and cantankerous artist.

During the Hokusai’s lifetime ukiyo-e (floating world) woodblock prints were enormously popular amongst the emerging Japanese middle classes. They were cheaply produced and very affordable, primarily depicting the lives of those who purchased them: courtesans, geishas, restaurants, and theatres. Influenced by the Dutch landscape scenes that traders brought into Japan, Hokusai went on to fuse these Western traditions with Japanese pictorial conventions in his famous series Thirty-six Views of
Mount Fuji.

This, one of Hokusai’s most famous images, shows fishermen dwarfed by the crashing surf. The gigantic Mt. Fuji is shown, through perspective, as smaller than the wave dominating the foreground. Manet and his artist buddies were intrigued by this unusual manipulation of perspective, the simplicity of colour, and definitiveness of outline in the prints which came out of Japan. In this way works such as this by Hokusai were enormously influential on
the painting of the Parisian avant-garde, and in turn on the progress of modernism as a whole.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. ONCE: A captivating collection of solo dance works
  2. Matilda the Musical — Matthew Warchus
  3. Rant with Grant
  4. A Fairer Aotearoa
  5. VUWSA Constitutional Changes
  6. The Politics of Caring: Interview with Max Harris
  7. Yes We Care
  8. Not Enough to Begin With
  9. On the Fence
  10. Policy for Policies

Editor's Pick


: - SPONSORED - The layer of mist over paddocks, delicate and cold; the layer of cows under a silver sun-bleached tree; the hills rising over them and in the distance the whole countryside demarcated by accidental hydrangeas or a gentle river.   All of these layers upon layers