Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/375

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HOKUSAI

171

ten, everything, every dot and every line, would be alive.[1] From his eightieth year he signed his age on his paintings. About 1820 he had already trained a considerable number of pupils, many of whom made a name for themselves, and, like Gakutei and Hokkei, reacted in turn upon their master's style; a proof of this may be found in the surimonos, the production of which he resumed about that time, and which he rendered particularly rich and varied by employing innumerable metallic pigments.

As Hokusai—although without ever reaching his great predecessors in style—developed further that sense for natural life in the plant and animal world which had already begun in the last quarter of the eighteenth century and was cultivated more especially by Utamaro, so he also gave proof of his susceptibility to the tendencies of the times in the numerous landscapes which he produced, more especially since the twenties. Together with Hiroshige and Kunisada he forms the artistic constellation which proclaims the revival at this time of a feeling for nature and represents a last characteristic uplift in Japanese art. After the landscape with the hundred bridges, a very large sheet of 1823, there appeared until 1829 the celebrated Thirty-six Views of Fuji, the volcano, 3729 metres high, which lies to the west of Yedo, and which may be regarded as a landmark of the country. In this set, which was printed mainly in blue, green, and brown, and gradually increased to forty-six sheets, of medium size and oblong form, he exhibited the mighty mountain now near, now afar, in the reflection of varying hours and seasons. The ever-changing foreground, which differs in each print, in itself awakens our interest; but though sometimes the mountain appears only as a vanishing point, yet it is always indispensable to the total impression.[2]

  1. Brinckmann, p. 203.
  2. See the description of the single sheets, Goncourt, p. 162 ff. Fenollosa (No. 382) mentions the picture with the Boat as perhaps the most original and impressive. Colour-reproductions in Perzynski (pp. 16, 64, 80), black and white, ibid. (Nos. 52-61); see also ibid., p. 77, seqq.