Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hokusai: A Life Of Drawing

"From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the forms of things. By the time I was fifty I had published an infinity of designs; but all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature, of animals, plants, trees, birds, fishes, and insects. In consequence, when I am eighty I shall have made still more progress; at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things; at a hundred I shall certainly have reached a marvelous stage; and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do, be it a dot or a line, will be alive. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I do not keep my word."

– Hokusai (1760-1849)

"It is easy to paint demons and deities which no one has seen, but difficult to paint ordinary people near at hand. An ancient flint-and-steel or poem-bag is hardly the equal of a newly made article by our own Marukawa or Echikawa; and the old formal shiclzi-go-san dinner is hardly up to Yaozen's modern feast. Here we have Master Hokusai of Katsushika. All that he sees, all that he imagines, all these, in full form and full spirit, issue without fail from his facile brush. And these are things from daily life: one cannot fake them; they appear before our very eyes; they take us by surprise. "

– Ota Nampo (1749-1823), Edo poet and novelist

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