Views of Mt. Fuji


This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.

This gallery will feature block prints, and silk paintings of Mt. Fuji During the Edo Period in Japan.  This period, between 1603 and 1868, was also known as the Tokugawa period.  Edo fell on May 3, 1868.  In 1700, Ukiyo-e and Kabuki became extremely popular and spread through Japan, then in 1707, Mt. Fuji Erupted suddenly.  During the Edo period, art in Japan evolved to many styles and form, but the common theme in these pieces, you can often see that white capped, symmetrical mountain.  Fuji can be seen from most densely populated Japanese cities on a clear day.  

Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: Fine Wind, Clear Morning, Katsushika Hokusai, 19c, From the collection of: Yamatane Museum of Art
As one of the finer, and more known woodblock paintings of Mt Fuji, this is a very well made print from this period depicting Mt Fuji's grandeur and symmetrical shape. This was painted at the very end of the Edo period, and I have suspected that it actually depicts the mountain after it erupted. The contrasting red color is not typical for the other depictions of its snowcapped peak, which is missing here. The clouds are in a thick pattern leading up the peak, as the vegetation and trees seem to disappear. This is one of my favorite wood blocks done by Hokusai of all time.
Katsushika Hokusai, 'Rainstorm Beneath the Summit' (Sanka haku'u), a colour woodblock print, 1831/1831, From the collection of: British Museum
This is the south view of Fuji, and is almost identical to the previous where again, Hokusai uses deep reds and browns in this woodblock depiction. My theory based on the color palate that this was also a depiction of the mountain post eruption as well. This view is almost darker, and more chaotic with clouds rhythmically swirling away in to a fog as they climb up the mountain. The shapes and colors are so bold, and organic in this view, including the atypical use of large swaths of black sweeping up the base like its being swallowed by darkness.
Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji: The Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai, Edo period, 19th century, From the collection of: Tokyo National Museum
This painting by Hokusai may in fact be his most recognized. This particular woodblock has bold sweeping lines that highlight the waves with deeply saturated blues and white peaks. The boats are almost hidden amongst the waves that are seemingly swallowing them deep in the sea. The mountain is clearly much further away here than many of the other views in this gallery which shows how far from shore these doomed boats may be. The mountain almost blends in this time, with The Great Wave ready to come crashing down on it, and anything else in its path.
ōtsuki Plain in Kai Province (Kai ōtsuki no hara), from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fuji sanjūrokkei), Utagawa Hiroshige I, published by Tsutaya Kichizō (Kōeidō), 1858 (Ansei 5), 4th month, From the collection of: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Another favorite woodblock of mine, by Hiroshige I, has a beautiful and wide array of colors. The lazy little river snakes carefully through the grassy flowered plaines which leads your eyes straight to Mt Fuji in all of its grand splendor. The pink sky hangs delicately over the massive peak. The dark shadowed hills leading to the mountain contrast the brightly colored flowers in the foreground and its an excellent use of negative space.
Utagawa Hiroshige, 'Yui: Satta Peak' (Yui, Satta-mine), a colour woodblock print, 1833/1834, From the collection of: British Museum
The lines of rock are cut steep, almost as if they are reaching towards the massive Mt Fuji in the background. Its white snowcapped peak contrasts the sparkling blue waters that lay calmly below it. The mountain is proportionate the the spectators in the foreground perched high up on the steep cliffs.
Ukiyo-e print by Kitagawa Utamaro of a hunting party, Kitagawa Utamaro, circa 1790 AD, From the collection of: Royal Ontario Museum
With bold lines, and vibrant colors, this woodblock print by Utamaro, is one of my favorite pieces in this series. Mt Fuji is not exactly the focus of the piece, yet it takes up such a large portion of the background and still becomes part of the focus when viewing this painting. The use of space and texture help lend to the balance of this painting as well.
Boy Viewing Mount Fuji, Artist: Katsushika Hokusai, 1839, From the collection of: Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
The snow covered Fuji helps to highlight the subject of the boy sitting in the foreground playing his flute above an almost rhythmic flowing waterfall. It has beautiful patterns that carefully highlight the mountain glowing in the background. This was painted by Katsushika Hokusai on a silk panel in the later Edo period.
Musashino, Unknown, Edo period (17th century), From the collection of: Suntory Museum of Art
This painting is done by an unknown artists from the Edo period and is actually a very beautiful silk screen. The gold colors contrast the mountain quite beautifully. the mountain almost looming in the background beyond the well textured grasses and mist like a hidden treasure. Each panel is expertly painted with great care for each stoke and line.
Haruki Nammei, Mt Fuji from Edo Bay, a hanging scroll painting, 1825/1875, From the collection of: British Museum
This painting by Haruki Nammei of Mt Fuji from Edo Bay, is a really nice example of a silk painting from the period. The lines in this almost seem to point right to the mountain, and the muted tones help highlight what seems to be a snow covered Mt Fuji with its use of negative space and contrasted colors.
Suminoe Buzen, Mt Fuji and Shiraito Falls, a hanging scroll painting, 1750/1799, From the collection of: British Museum
This painting was created by Suminoe Buzen between 1750 and 1799 on silk and paper. This painting has a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji beneath Shiraito falls, painting in muted tones, the focal point is the white waterfalls. The colors are muted and have a nice contrast with the lines and textures in each tree and ripple in the water that help to emphasize the mountain looming behind it.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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