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Katsushika Hokusai
Japan 1760−1849
Biography and information
Katsushika Hokusai (21 October 1760, Edo (now Tokyo) – may 10, 1849, ibid.) – the most common alias of one of the most famous Japanese artists of the direction of Ukiyo-e. Master of woodcuts, the author of the series "36 views of Fuji", "100 views of Fuji", "100 Ghost stories" and others. Played a significant role in promoting prints in the genre of Suriname kind of greeting cards that were presented to each other the Japanese nobles on various occasions. Having lived almost 90 years, their best work was created with the attainment of a 70-year milestone.

Features of the artist Hokusai Katsushika: being the famous author of a traditional Japanese prints Ukiyo-e, Hokusai, paradoxically, was not an artist-traditionalist in full. He brought to the classic principles of Japanese prints trends in Western art such as the use of linear perspective, the depiction of scenes from the life of the lower classes, realism and others. Prints Hokusai different philosophical view of the world in General, and close attention to detail in particular.

Katsusiki known engravings by Hokusai: "A big wave in Kanagawa", "The South wind. Clear day (Red Fuji)", "Ghost Oivi", "In the bathroom", "View of Edo from the temple of the Rakan-JI temple in Honjo", "Waterfall in Mino province".

Real name Katsushika Hokusai unknown: the artist changed the alias almost from the beginning of each new cycle of work. We only know that at his birth he called the name Tomitaro, but it is not glorified master Japanese woodcuts throughout the world.

What's in a name?

Data on childhood Tokutaro different. According to one version he was the son of the master mirror Affairs Nakajima ISE. But other researchers of the life and work of Hokusai believe that the boy was sent to a foster family of zerkalschik at the age of 4 – 5 years, so since he was born in a poor peasant family, the parents were not able to feed all children. The firstborn in Japan has traditionally been left to grow at home, so it is believed that Tokutaro was not the oldest child.

Anyway, the first skills he received by helping his adoptive (or real – depending which version to believe) father to make mirrors for the shogun (the position of ruler of the Japanese state). But he stayed on the field for long: at the age of ten Tatsuzo (new name future the artist) becomes a peddler in the bookstore. It is not known why the boy left his first mentor. But when you consider that in the future he will manifest the nature and stubbornness it is possible to imagine approximate the reasons for his departure.

4 years later Hokusai will manage to do the apprentice to the engraver, from whom he learns the basics of the craft: learning how to prepare boards, to cut the prints according to the drawings of the artist to apply paint and so on. Thanks to the talent and the exceptional hard work, 19-year-old boy attended a workshop known at the time of the artist Katsukawa Sense. At this time our hero takes his first artistic name, Sunro. According to tradition, it was formed from parts of the names of the teacher (the character for "ro" got "inherited" from his old alias Kakuro).

By the time of the death of a mentor will Hokusai was 33 years. He did not stay in the workshop and continued the search for his own style. Having studied art of the Kano school (based on Chinese traditions) and Yamato-e (revered as a true Japanese), the future master shows interest in European painting. Thanks to the fusion of all the available knowledge will Hokusay managed to develop a unique style that brought him popularity and orders.

Obsessed with painting

In the 90-ies of the 18th century Hokusai works a lot and fruitfully, using so many aliases that it is not to get confused in them it was only a devout fan. A name given at birth – Tokutaro – he signed book illustration. Other works published under the pseudonym Tatsumasa. Engravings, printed in large editions, bore the authorship of the CACO or Arobase.

In 1796, the wizard first applies your main alias that will be his name for centuries to come. And at the turn of the century it will add to it a small note, and will be called Hakujin Hokusai – "obsessed with painting" Hokusai. What was shown his obsession? First, he worked with incredible speed. His hand was solid, and the artist reworked his drawings.

Second, reaching the peak of his skill, Hokusai produced a series for series, stamping new prints as a perfect printing mechanism. One after another appear the cycles of "36 views of Fuji", "Journey to the waterfalls of the provinces", "100 views of Fuji", which brought him incredible fame and suffered a number of reissues that the original Board, carved by the master himself, lost their original appearance. Prints of them are in the best Museum collections and private collections around the world.

There is no limit to perfection

Without a doubt, this success will Hokusay managed to achieve the exceptional perfectionism, which did not allow him to rest on our laurels and forced all the time be in search of perfect lines and composite solutions.

Known for his words: "From the age of six, I passionately loved to copy the form of things, and since I turned 50, I published a lot of drawings. But nothing that I drew before my seventieth birthday, is not worth attention. At the age of 73 years, I partially understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fish, plant life and herbs. So in 86 years, I will achieve further progress, and at 90 I'll even penetrate the secret meaning of things. In 100 years I might actually be able to reach the level of the divine spheres. When I'm 110, every dot, every line will live by itself".

But life is messed up cards, and this plan will Hokusay failed to finish. In 1839 a fire destroyed the artist's Studio and most of his works. At the same time his popularity began to wane, and in Japan began to rise of a new star woodcuts to replace an old master with its pedestal – Utagawa Hiroshigefor example.

But he did not give up his aspirations and continued to work until his death, which overtook him at a very advanced age. On his deathbed nearly 90-year-old only regret was that the skies threw him at least ten years: "Or at least five more... Then I could be a real artist".

Author: Natalia Azarenka
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