Libmonster ID: U.S.-1400
Author(s) of the publication: N. NIKOLAEV

We in Russia say, repeating the words of the classic: "Pushkin is our everything." The Japanese might justly say, " Hokusai is our everything."

This talented man lived a long and bright life: he was born in 1760, died in 1849. In Japan, he is known as a painter, graphic artist, poet, prose writer. Europeans are most revered as an artist, thanks to whom the world learned about the unusual and unusual art of the Land of the Rising Sun, and by and large - the entire East as a whole. "Hokusai is one of Japan's greatest artists. And for Europeans - the greatest, the most brilliant. He is simultaneously the Rembrandt, Callot, Goya and Daumier of Japan, " said the French researcher L. Gonz. In fairness, however, I must say that in the artist's homeland there are art critics who speak more restrained about Hokusai's work. This is most likely due to the innovation shown by him in many works, as well as monstrous productivity - Hokusai's artistic heritage includes many thousands, if not tens of thousands of works.

As a young man, he studied under the famous engraver Katsukawa Shunso and other outstanding masters, was fond of Chinese landscapes, eagerly read books about European art, carefully looking at engravings reproducing the works of great masters. But he started out as an illustrator, and he remained attached to this work for the rest of his life, accompanying his drawings in a total of more than 500 books. Closer to 40 years and up to his fiftieth birthday, he became interested in surimono - drawing engraved greeting cards, a type of our art cards. Then he enthusiastically prepared and published collections of "Manga" - "Mixed Drawings" - a kind of drawing tutorials. In total, Hokusai created 12 such collections. The drawings presented there are similar to unfinished sketches. But this is only a first impression. In fact, these are small masterpieces, as if the artist shows students how to capture fish, birds, insects, thunderstorms, snow, wind, human characters, scenes from everyday life with extremely concise means for lovers of beauty.

However, it is unlikely that Hokusai's creative style could be copied and reproduced by students or followers. But he really sincerely sought to pass on to his contemporaries and descendants some of the secrets of his skill. For, in addition to a dozen "issues" of "Mixed Drawings", in 1848 he published a book "On the correct use of paints". The falcon lying on the ground - one of Hokusai's last works featured in this book-is somewhat similar to the traditional character of Russian art - the dying swan. Perhaps the old artist was already visited by some gloomy forebodings - after all, in the following year, 1849, he died...

Another "branch" in the artist's oeuvre is subtle and extremely expressive landscapes, combined with a wide variety of landscapes.-

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included in a unique "series" - "36 views of Mount Fuji"," Famous bridges","Journey through the country's waterfalls". Most of these works were created by a middle-aged artist in 1828-1833. Already on the very slope of life - in 1845 - Hokusai again turns to the image of his favorite mountain-a symbol of Japan - and publishes a collection of landscapes "100 views of Mount Fuji".

People are depicted in many of Katsushiki Hokusai's drawings. They work, have fun, go for walks, raise children. And often, unfortunately, they do not notice how magnificent the surrounding nature is, how majestic the landscapes are, as well as everything that surrounds the vanity of human existence. Looking at the artist's works, you can't help but feel the need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and feel like a part of the world - great and eternal.

In his younger years, Hokusai paid tribute to Japanese "traditionalism" by portraying actors in Japanese theater, where, as is known, female roles are played by men, or sumo wrestlers. In these works, created in 1780-1781, the hand of the great master is not yet felt, something similar could have been created by any other artist of that time. But the portrait of a woman with a bundle of brushwood on her head, published by the master at the beginning of the XIX century (presumably in 1806-1815), already bears many unique features peculiar to Hokusai-a sharp sense of movement of a young lady, as well as a sense of beauty that she has not forgotten even in hard work-look, what an elegant ribbon is intercepted by a bundle of brushwood.

Both in this and in other works of the artist, women are creatures of a special kind, the artist depicts them with special tenderness and affection. How much warmth and tenderness radiate his work "Woman with a cat" or "Woman with a shamisen" (musical instrument. - N. N.).

Many natural phenomena take on human features in the artist's works. Set a goal - to portray what a violent black vortex looks like, sweeping everything in its path - you can hardly do it better than Hokusai did. Probably, even in Japan, the content of Bakin's old novel "Sukoyden", which was illustrated by the artist, has long been forgotten. And ingenious drawings-

page 54


ki's for this novel are still included in all Hokusai-themed albums. In total, the artist illustrated 8 novels by Bakin. Books sold out instantly, but the writer and artist were constantly arguing over which of them owed their success; once the case even went to court.

One of the collections of his works Hokusai titled "Album of drawings made with one stroke" ("Ippitsu gafu"). The author claimed that he really did not take the brush off the sheet of paper until the drawing was complete. The album was released in 1823, several years before the invention of photography, but the artist visionary appreciated the expressiveness of the "snapshot" - "captured moment", whether it is moments of dance, tiny episodes from the life of women or peeked from behind the bushes graceful movements of marsh herons.

Hokusai was not" fixated " exclusively on Japanese subjects, many of his works bear the imprint of the influence of Chinese graphics. And what Chinese artist has not depicted a ferocious dragon at least once in his life? The Hokusai dragon from the Book of Letters of Instruction published in 1828 is surprisingly peaceful and does not look like a flame-belching monster, but rather like a pet-a cat or a dog. And the expression of his muzzle is quite peaceful - this will not offend any living creature...

Hokusai had a deep respect for Chinese art, and in some periods of his career was clearly passionate about it. The illustrations for the book "Selected Chinese Poems" are a blatant stylization of the famous Chinese watercolors. And yet, there is something subtly Hokusai about " The Crab "or the portrayal of the fairy-tale character" Sennin " riding a large fish.

The artist's cycle "Flowers and Birds"is amazing. The central place in this cycle is occupied by the so-called "big flowers". And it's a strange thing: if you look closely at Hokusai lilies or irises, you can't help but find that the flowers are surprisingly similar to birds. The petals are like wings, and the easily discernible wind is like the feeling of flying. The artist seems to be telling us that everything in nature is sublime, beautiful and admirable.

The Hokusai waterfalls from the book "A Journey through the waterfalls of various Provinces" are so diverse in their appearance, and the water jets are so bizarre in configuration that you can't help but think: isn't all this the fruit of the artist's unbridled imagination? Well, no - each drawing has its own address: "Ono Waterfall on the road to Kisokaido" or "Kurifuri Waterfall on Mount Kurokami".

Mount Fuji is still depicted on millions of postcards brought from Japan by numerous tourists. But modern photographers with their "sophisticated" technique are far from the ingenuity of Hokusai, who chooses the most unusual angles in order to capture a really very expressive mountain-volcano. Such is, for example, "A view of Fuji from a bamboo grove." You are amazed at the confidence and clarity of lines in the image of bamboo trunks, especially when you consider that the artist who created his last album - "One Hundred Views of Fuji" - was already 75 years old.

..Black ink and a white sheet of paper-these are the main tools of creativity of a wonderful Japanese artist. But he did not neglect colors, and a number of his works, made in color, are presented on page 3 of the cover of our magazine. Take a closer look at them and agree that world art without the works of Katsushiki Hokusai would clearly be much poorer, and the East would be much less understandable and attractive for us-Europeans.


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