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Hokusai Katsushika

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Hokusai Katsushika
Japanese, (1760–1849)
Hokusai Katsushika, widely recognized as Hokusai, stands as a prominent Japanese ukiyo-e artist from the Edo period (1618-1868). Born in Edo (present-day Tokyo), he apprenticed under the woodcarver Katsukawa Shunsho, an esteemed artist of the ukiyo-e style. During this period, ukiyo-e, primarily focused on portraying courtesans, Kabuki actors, and sumo wrestlers, underwent a transformation under Hokusai's influence. Hokusai's early focus was on portraying the emerging merchant class, as opposed to more traditional subjects. His artistic journey extended beyond these initial portrayals to explore diverse styles, including the incorporation of Western elements. This marked the beginning of a prolific seventy-year career, leaving an indelible mark on the art world. Notably, his woodblock print series, "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji," featuring masterpieces like "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," showcased his groundbreaking approach. Hokusai's legacy extends beyond ukiyo-e, transcending traditional portraiture to impact Western artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. Renowned for innovative compositions and exceptional technique, Hokusai remains a revered figure in global art history. (Priya Banerjee '25, intern, fall 2023)

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