Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai

(1760-1849) Japanese

Hokusai was an ukiyo-e painter and printmaker during the Edo Period in Japan. He was born into an artisan family and began painting around the age of six, learning from his father whose work on mirrors included the painting of designs around said mirrors. At 14 Hokusai became apprentice to a wood-carver and worked here until 18 whereupon he was accepted into the studio of Katsukawa Shunshō, an artist of ukiyo-e. Further influenced by Sesshū Tōyō and other styles of Chinese painting, he is best known as the author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. This series was a response to the domestic travel boom and an ode to his personal obsession with Mount Fuji – The Great Wave print specifically was what secured Hokusai’s fame both overseas and across Japan. Throughout his career, he was known by at least 30 names, changes which many believe to be related to his shifts in artistic production and style and thus helpful in breaking his life up into periods.

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