Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), known as Hokusai, was a Japanese artist, printmaker, and painter of the Edo period. Editor and author Andreas Marks has just launched an XXL edition of Hokusai's seminal 'Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji'.
This XXL edition is an ode to Hokusai's work, colours, and composition. It's bound in traditional Japanese uncut paper and presents the original 36 plates and an additional ten added by the artist. It is said this publication "paints an enchanting picture of pre-industrial Japan and is itself a stunning monument to the art of woodblock printing".
Mount Fuji has always stood in the centre of Japanese art, and this woodblock print series captures the essence of Japanese artistry perfectly. Hokusai was well known for documenting and capturing the beauty of nature, people, and cities. For any fans out there, this series will enable you to get closer to Hokusai's beauty and genius.
Made with Japanese binding in a clothbound box, the book itself is a work of art that'll make any coffee table sparkle with joy.
Andreas Marks comments: "Hokusai chose viewpoints of Mount Fuji from locations all over the country and not just in the near vicinity of the mountain or from Edo. Historically, landscape pictures in the arts of Japan were principally expressions of an artist's fantasy or interpretations of established iconography rather than being derived from actual sketches.
"That is the case in this series, too, since it is unlikely that Hokusai travelled to many of the locales his prints purported to represent."
On the subject of Mount Fuji and its relevance to Hokusai, Marks writes: "With his Fuji series and the Fuji book in the 1830s, Hokusai changed the perception of Mount Fuji forever. That this mountain was and still could be a bringer of death and catastrophe through an outburst of nature has been overshadowed by its beauty, which Hokusai immortalised in his pictures better than anyone else."
It wasn't just Hokusai who became fascinated with Mount Fuji, as many other artists paid homage to it, too, resulting in an array of prints and paintings in the 19th century. Hokusai himself continued to paint it until his final year in 1849.
Today, The Great Wave is the best-known Japanese work of art globally – celebrated on almost any kind of object, including coasters, mugs, mousepads, bags, T-shirts, and shoes. "Almost 200 years have passed since these designs were first issued and it is within normal expectations that each and every surviving impression today shows certain marks resulting from its age," adds Marks.
Hokusai's seminal 'Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji' in XXL is published by Taschen and is available to order now.