Katsushika Hokusai

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Katsushika Hokusai

Hokusai produced some very unique artwork and he had a specific style that he become known for.  Hokusai's art was different from the usual style as he transformed the subject of his work from a style of portraiture focused on painting people into a much broader style of art that focused on landscapes, plants and animals.  Hokusai constantly seeked to produce better work and research shows, he exclaimed on his death bed " If only heaven will give me just another ten years...just another five more years, then I could become a real painter". He wanted to develop a full understanding of the nature he painted and aimed to achieve a divine knowledge of them.  His choice of art style stemmed from his religious beliefs as he was a follower of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. To these followers Mount Fuji is a sacred place and is linked with eternal life. This motivated Hokusai to produce 36 Views of Mount Fuji. Another difference in Hokusai's art is that some paintings aren't even believed to be Japanese art, despite the fact that Hokusai lived in Japan and was Japanese. In fact evidence shows that Hokusai's most famous paining is 'The Great Wave' ( painted by Homusai ) which is actually Western art seen through the style of Japanese art.  For these reasons Hokusai produced artwork that became popular. He wasn't afraid to be a bit out-of-the-ordinary and so is remembered till this day.

Conclusion & Significance of Hokusai

Throughout history there have been many people who played a major role. These great individuals would have re-directed the course history would take. People like this are remembered with respect and many are looked up to by modern historians. This biography covered the life of Katsushika Hokusai and how he was a great individual. The aspects about Hokusai mentioned were, how he built his career and popularity, important events in his life, how Hokusai's art was special and finally what it influenced. Hokusai was a significant and important Japanese artist as he hugely impacted Japan and the Western world. Hokusai always looked to improve his skills and by doing so, produced extremely successful artworks. These artworks are well recognised and Hokusai's mindset towards his art is something rare that is well appreciated. Hokusai's life was full of important events that impacted society and himself. And example of this is the Hokusai manga, this was produced for the public and also influenced the modern form of manga. Hokusai is remembered for many of these events and they are what make up his unique life. Another reason why Hokusai is so significant to Japanese history is that he didn't produce work that was common to Japan. He thought outside the box and created a new style of art we still see being used today. Hokusai painted images of nature and ideas that were influenced by his religious beliefs. Not only was this essential to the development of Japanese art, it is an idea that should be admired. From this people can learn to do what they think it right and follow their instincts. Hokusai was an extremely important Japanese individual. He strongly influenced art and the course it would take through out history. Hokusai took a long and hard path to fame, however in the end he produced world recognised paintings. He is without doubt one of the greatest Japanese painters who will be remembered for centuries. Extensive research and accurate evidence proves how significant and symbolic Hokusai was. Although we may not realise it, Katsushika Hokusai's legacy is alive in our world today.

Introduction  Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist that lived during the Tokugawa period. He was born in 1760 and, at age 89, died in 1849. As an artistic genius he produced over 30 000 works in total and began painting at age six. During his lifetime Hokusai was known by at least thirty names and lived in over ninety homes. Hokusai's role in society was to produce artwork, either for himself, the shogun or for an authors book. Hokusai broke away from the usual ukiyo-e style of art and forever changed tradition Japanese paintings.  To gain an in depth understanding of the significance of Hokusai the topics covered will be; how Hokusai built his career & popularity, important events in his life, what was special about his art and what his art influenced.

Hokusai's work was so significant that he influenced modern art and is still impacting the world, even today.  Hokusai inspired the Hugo Award winning short story by Roger Zelanzy. The short story is called 24 Views of Mount Fuji. The storyline consists of the main character touring the area surrounding Mount Fuji, with each stop being a location painted by Hokusai.  Another way Hokusai impacted the modern world was through his manga. The first book of Hokusai's manga consisting of sketches or caricatures influenced the manga that his still being created today. They are similar in their comic style and would not be what they are if it weren't for Hokusai.   Hokusai's art even influenced western artists such as Van Gogh and Whistler. These artists were motivated by Hokusai's style to produce similar work of a similar genre.  Hokusai's art inspired many people and is significant even in modern times. He was so motivational and compelling that he changed the course of art and literature.

What was special about Hokusai's art and his mindset towards it?

What were some important events in Hokusai's life?

What did Hokusai's art influence?

How did Hokusai build his career and popularity?

Katsushika Hokusai did not begin as a successful artist and so becoming a recognised painter did not come easily, in fact it took a long time before he reached the peak of his career. Hokusai was encouraged to improve his art and produce better work after he was expelled from an artistic school run by Shunkō. His frustration was productive and more good actually came out of this situation. Hokusai himself said "What really motivated the development of my artistic style was the embarrassment I suffered at Shunkō's hands." Hokusai's art became popular because of his unique style. He broke away from a traditional Ukiyo-e style of art and changed the subject of his paintings into landscapes and images of daily life. His most famous work of this style was 36 Views of Mount Fuji. According to a biography of Hokusai the change of subject was a break through in ukiyo-e and in his career.  Through creating unique artwork and by always striving to gain better skills, Hokusai managed to build his career and become one of Japan's most significant artists.

Throughout Hokusai's life there were many important events that shaped his career and impacted his artwork.  One of these events in Hokusai's life was when he collaborated with the popular novelist Takizawa Bakin on a series of illustrated books. The pair did not get along due to there artist difference and so their collaboration ended on the fourth work. However Hokusai continued working on the project alone. The biography from katsushikahokusai.org states the producer wanted Hokusai to continue working on the project, emphasising the importance of illustrations in printed works of the period.  In 1811, at age 51, Hokusai changed his name to 'Taito' and entered the period in which he created the Hokusai Manga and various art manuals. The manuals were called Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawings and served as a convieniant way to attract students and provide a steady income. They include thousands of drawings of animals, religious figures and everyday people. They were thought to have humourous overtones and were very popular at the time. Evidence suggests they influenced the modern form manga known by the same name.  Another significant time in Hokusai's life was when he changed his name to to 'Iitsu' in 1820. This marked the start of a period in which he was thought to have secured his fame as an artist in Japan. These events can be thought of as periods in Hokusai's life. They played a major role throughout his career and influenced his significance to Japanese history.

References:Andreas.com,. (2015). Katsushika Hokusai and Japanese Art. Retrieved 27 May 2015, from http://andreas.com/hokusai.html Cartwright, J., & Nakamura, H. (2009). What kind of a wave is Hokusai's Great wave off Kanagawa?. Notes And Records Of The Royal Society, 63(2), 119-135. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2007.0039 Csse.monash.edu.au,. (2015). Katsushika Hokusai Ukiyo-e Gallery. Retrieved 19 May 2015, from http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/ukiyoe/raf_hokusai_intro.html Findagrave.com,. (2015). Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849) - Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 12 May 2015, from http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8402229 Hokusai, K. (2015). Katsushika Hokusai - WikiArt.org. Wikiart.org. Retrieved 27 May 2015, from http://www.wikiart.org/en/katsushika-hokusai Katsushikahokusai.org,. (2015). Katsushika Hokusai Biography. Retrieved 19 May 2015, from http://www.katsushikahokusai.org/biography.html Wikipedia,. (2015). Hokusai. Retrieved 5 May 2015, from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokusai

This picture shows a self portrait Hokusai painted of himself.

Katsushika Hokusai1760-1849


The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai


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