Hokusai's Project: The Articulation of Pictorial Space

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Global Oriental, 2007 - Art - 188 pages
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This important new study on the great ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai is not so much about who he was or what he did, but rather an in-depth appreciation, involving close examination of some forty-four Hokusai prints, of why his works appear in the way they do and how he evolved his own unique artistic style. Although a prolific artist, the focus is mostly on his later woodblock prints when his distinctive style, today recognized worldwide, became fully crystallized. Like so many of his contemporaries, faced with the same challenges of social, aesthetic, personal and contractual limitations, how was it that the ‘Hokusai style’ or methodology emerged, and why was it so successful? The book opens with a discussion on how Hokusai broke with the pictorial habits of ukiyo-e, which then leads into an examination of three main themes: How Hokusai learned his trade; Hokusai, Mount Fuji and the articulation of pictorial space, and Hokusai – flowers, poets and aesthetic detachment. In addition to a select bibliography, the book is supported by a valuable glossary of artistic terms.

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About the author (2007)

David Bell is director of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Otago's Department of Education, New Zealand. He gained his PhD from the University of Otago for his research into ukiyo-e, which was subsequently published as Ukiyo-e Explained by Global Oriental (2004). His previous publications have focused on the history and theory of print-making, and include Alexander Hare McLintock: Printmaker (1994) and Chushingura and the Floating World (2001). He is currently engaged in research relating to aspects of sensibility in the Edo period.

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