The Master of Mount Fuji
“If heaven had granted me five more years, I could have become a real painter.”
This was one of the prints published in Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji that helped secure Hokusai’s fame and popularity within Japan and overseas. It depicts Mount Fuji in a deep, saturated red; thin white lines of snow tracing lines down from the tip of the peak. Small clusters of clouds fill the sky, and tiny trees grow to the base of the mountain, indicating its massive size.
The series depicts Mount Fuji in differing seasons and weather conditions from a variety of different places and distances. It actually consists of 46 prints created between 1826 and 1833. The first 36 were included in the original publication and, due to their popularity, ten more were added after the original publication.
Great Wave or Under the Wave, off Kanagawa as it was properly titled – has been used for everything from the cover of Debussy‘s score of “La Mer” to Tintin‘s desperate cry of “Nous sommes perdus, Milou!” in Cigars of the Pharaoh. Comics, advertising, Impressionist painting, pop art and music have all been influenced by the discovery in the West of Japanese prints in general and Hokusai‘s works in particular.