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japanese woodblock prints

japanese woodblock prints

2 min read

When we talk about Japanese woodblock prints, we automatically think of the most famous oriental artist: Hokusai and his famous Japanese print "The Wave, in the series Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji".

Hokusai  wave woodblock print japan
So this article will be entirely dedicated to him and I hope it will make you want to discover other Japanese artists.

Hokusai was born in Edo in the Horeki period (1760) and was adopted at the age of 3 or 4 by a family of craftsmen, his adoptive father, Nakajima Isé, is a mirror maker for the Shogun's court.

10 years later, he will be an apprentice in a xylography workshop. Then in 1778, he will join the workshop of the master Katsukawa Shunsho (1726- 1792), a painter of ukiyo-e* prints, specialized in the representation of actors. Then the following year, he will produce under the name of Katsukawa Shunrô, a continuation of these portraits considerably successful. However, he will leave the studio after the death of his master because of disagreement with his successor Shunko. Hokusai will then endure a phase of extreme poverty during which he will study the methods of the schools of Kano Yusen, Tsutsumi Torin, and Sumiyoshi Naiki, but will also undergo the influence of Western art through the works that circulate in the country through the Dutch office in Nagasaki.
In 1804, he painted, in the courtyard of the Edo temple, using a broom and a container of Indian ink, a gigantic Daruma of more than 200 m2 that had to be raised to the roofs to allow the public to contemplate it. He will repeat this feat in 1817 in Nagoya.

Hokusai undertakes, in 1814, guided by Bokusen, the publication of his multiple sketchbooks, which will be published until 1834 and will include 12 volumes.

The year 1831 saw the publication of one of his major works, the Fugaku Sanjûrokkei or Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji in which he used Prussian blue, unknown in Japan until 1829.

Another of his works was published in 1834 : Fugaku Hyakkei or One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji.

Hokusai passed away on May 4, 1849 at the age of 89 and his works were then buried in Keikiôji temple in the popular district of Asakusa in Edo. His work then contains 30,000 drawings.