RU  UK  EN
Статьи  >  Enjoy  >  The ghost brush of miss Hokusai

The ghost brush of miss Hokusai

Автор: 10.08.2018 | Japan, art
The eccentric elder Katsushika Hokusai was the real star of the Edo period, the creative genius and the brutal debtor of the half of his city. He used at least 30 names, changed 93 houses and created a lot of prints, drawings and paintings. His internationally recognized print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is mesmerizing. But only a few people know that this block printing, as well as many other works, was created by Hokusai with assistance of his daughter - artist Katsushika Ōi, lost in time and overshadowed by her genius father crazy about art.

A woman wrapped in a mystery

The elusive Japanese lady left behind her more questions than answers. Much is known about life of "the Leonardo of the East", and the same little is information about his protégé and studio assistant. Even the date of her birth is discussed. Although most scientists still agreed on the fact that this event happened around 1800. Where, when? Unknown. But the fact that Ōi was no less eccentric than her father, is beyond doubt. She loved watching big fires, drinking sake and enjoyed pipe smoking (by the way, because of this addiction she even ruined a new picture when dropped ashes on it). Moreover, in addition to talent for the fine arts, the artist inherited her father’s obstinate character and a complete lack of interest to the household. To put it mildly, she had unusual features for Edo girl, didn’t she?

At the age of about twenty Katsushika married. Her choice Minamisawa Tomei was the shopkeeper who sold oils for hair, and was interested in painting. They studied ukiyo-e under the tutelage of Tsutsumi Torin. Nevertheless, it was not a long and happy union. Ōi found her spouse to be a comically poor artist and eventually divorced him thus returned to her former lifestyle. Tsuyuki Itza, late student of Hokusai, mentioned that Katsushika never remarried, and wanted to become enlightened woman.Photo images.metmuseum.or

The years that followed father and daughter worked together. They spent their days painting, never cleaned house and cooked but just buying food in the stalls and gradually transforming the place of their habitation in the landfill. Around 1842 - 43, one of Hokusai’s students created an illustration of their studio. There were depicted the great master and Ōi leaning on a long tobacco pipe. This is the only existing portrait of hers.

The death of the artist is the same mysterious as her birth. Where, how and when it happened, is unknown. Except that you can imagine. Some sources mention 1866, that is 17 years after the death of Hokusai, yet another account indicates 1857. After burying her father, Katsushika moved and at first lived as a recluse whether in Asakusa or in Aoyama (the neighbourhood of Edo). And then she travelled around the country, somewhere out there she found an eternal resting place.

Moreover, not only the life of this unusual woman, but even her name is shrouded in mystery: "Ōi" is a nickname that she put on her works. There are multiple theories as to the origin of her name, and funniest of them says that Ōi, Ōi! (the Japanese equivalent of hey you) is exclamation which Hokusai constantly used to call his daughter. As for the real name of the artist, it is also not known. Some sources assert that her name was Omei, others claim for Oei.

A game of shadows

Together with her father Ōi worked for nearly a quarter-century painting "images of the changeable world" and attending various events. Hokusai was even convinced that she was far more talented in depicting women, then he was. Ōi is known to have excelled at handwriting and in bijin-ga, or paintings of beautiful women, she also coloured his spring pictures (erotic prints) and even created some of his most famous works. For instance, the Old Tiger in the Snow is one of the prime suspects for being really by Ōi. Graceful beast, sublime snowflakes and indescribable lightness in everything... At the time of painting Hokusai was over 80 years old, he suffered from partial paralysis and was hardly capable for such delicacy of lines and weightless of image. But handiwork of Ōi was famous for just that. Not surprisingly, many publishers, placing an order, were happy to accept works by both artists. Sometimes, specially preferring daughter’s soft style to "an angry brush" of father. However, she may have been far more prolific than previously supposed, albeit working under another name: that of her own father. The final product was inevitably signed by the brand that was bestselling on the market - "Hokusai". Maybe this explains the amazing shortage of works with her signature: only two books of illustrations and 10 paintings. But they are truly amazing! The most famous works Yoshiwara Night Scene and Beauty of Spring Night are extremely attractive. The interplay of light and shadow, as well as light effects is a distinct style making paintings alive, breathing, mysterious, unconventional - as the artist herself.Photo tehne.com

Yoshiwara Night Scene shows people watching courtesans through the bars in the district of pleasure. While the Japanese ukiyo-e artists traditionally paint night compositions bright as day, Ōi introduces chiaroscuro and perspective, making them more real. At the same time, Beauty of Spring Night is not less innovative and more sensual picture. Lanterns light up the face and kimono of a woman, surrounded by fine silhouettes of pine trees and cherry blossoms and the sky is full of stars. Interestingly, they are not just white dots or circles (as typical at that time), but have blue and red pigments.

Some of her works are now in museums outside Japan. Boston engraving Three Women Playing Musical Instrumentsis made on silk. It portrays a courtesan, a geisha and a city lady who are playing koto, shamisen and kokyu respectively. A picture Operating on Guanyu's Arm is kept by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The gruesome tableau portrays the ancient Chinese general Guanyu. After being seriously wounded by an enemy’s poisoned arrow, the legendary general calmly carries on with the game of go as a bespectacled physician slices into his outstretched arm in a bloodletting operation. This painting may largely boast the same attention to the light and shade that best works of Ōi.Photo tehne.com

Unfortunately, the art world is full of unjustly neglected masters. And Miss Hokusai is one of the brightest jewels in this casket. She was special, really unusual woman, especially for the Tokugawa era. Her eccentric nature, weird hobbies and distraction from all that does not apply to work, is surprising. Time has not been kind to the artist. Ōi remains a shadowy figure, but even a small amount of signed works that exists today, gives an indication of her outstanding talent and courage. And if you look closely, then who knows... Maybe we do not even know how really great is contribution of ghostly hand of Ōi into legacy of her father.

Cover photo oboi-colibri.ru

Вам это будет интересно:
Tasty Japan: Give the country a try
Ice cream with a taste of horse meat, pickled insects, fish with deadly venom, etc – Japanese cuisine has things to surprise, amaze and shock you with. And truth be told, enumeration of these dishes doesn’t help my appetite at all. But we are not after exotic stuff. True culinary tourism is an attempt to comprehend mindset and feel national distinctive color through traditional cuisine – not try most exotic dishes.
Fado: Gentleness and deftness of Portuguese romances
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
The Sistine Chapel Illusions
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple.
In the rhythm of heart. Japanese drums taiko
Its sounds penetrate the heart, stop the flow of thoughts and cause the blood to move in some kind of magical rhythm. It's a roll of thunder. It gives the shivers. It's a secret. Japanese drums in their homeland are elevated to the rank of cult. Without them, not a single official event is possible, their melodies delight the hearing during joy and help to experience sadness.
Step over threshold: The magical art of the huichol
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life.
Art of Tattoo: Mesmerizing Magic of On-body Drawings
Coin jar of history of this art accounts for about 6 thousand years. Notably, this currently popular trade owes its emergence to happenstance... A prehistoric man once noticed that after any natural colorant had gotten into a place of a burn or a cut, very lasting drawings stayed on skin.
Kagoshima: City with kamikaze fame
Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius!, Nietzsche exclaimed in a prophetic ecstasy. Gloomy pathos of the philosopher could be hardly understood by the residents of the Japanese city of Kagoshima, located at the bottom of the caldera Aira resulting from the explosion about 22 thousand years ago. Farmers were hoeing edges of the hollow from the Bronze Age, as usual fending off the ashes scattered in the air.
Made In Sweden: Dalecarlian Horse
And since winged horses of Valkyries darted away to Valhalla forever, Dalecarlian horse has remained the guardian of Vikings’ traditions – painted folk toy, first mentioned in chronicles of 17th century. Dalecarlian horse serves as an amulet of non-touristic Sweden by saving from oblivion ancient fables and beliefs.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 4
So, to wash your hands, you have to leave indoor slippers before bathroom threshold, step into the bathroom, slip into the special footwear, wash hands, remove those special bathroom slippers, and switch for indoor slippers when re-entering the living area. Earlier, probably in jest, Oba-san warned me that if I step onto the living area in the toilet slippers, he will tell me about hara-kiri rules.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 3. “Samurai Spirit”
If what they show in cinematograph is true than a typical samurai appears to be austere, taciturn and even slightly unsociable person. But this image in actual fact doesn’t get in line with reality... You don’t believe it? Our journalist Elena Rasenko suggests you make sure of it for yourself.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 2 “Fish Day”
It is just as hard to imagine a Japanese who doesn’t eat fish as to picture a Scott who doesn’t drink whiskey. OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko will tell you about a unique place where successors of samurai purchase fine seafood for their tables.
Bregenz. To the Theatre in a Tuxedo And on a Catamaran
Especially for those who believe theater and opera music to be vestige of the past, we tell about an amazing Austrian theater where traditional art meets technical and engineering novelties and also a great view of the Alps.
Desperate Futurism: Japan. Part 1
OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to such a marvelous and fascinating Land of the Rising Sun!
Murals: New Approach to Olden Art
Modern cities cannot be imagined without murals – large-scale in size works of picture art that decorate buildings. Not only we have gathered most outstanding works in our collection but also tried to learn as many interesting things as possible about this art movement.
The sun under the glass. Best greenhouses in the world
For 1 month spring has been reining our planet, now just watch warm coats to change for thin jackets, cold and mediocrity for the bright sun. And, of course, what sort of spring it could be without green trees and beautiful flowers? Well, in order to make your expectation of long-awaited colours and flavours less agonizing...
Kintsugi. Japanese art of restoration
The Japanese are one of those peoples who zealously respect the ancient traditions. They respect old age, being interested in ancestors and often know the family ancestry by heart. With such a worldview, it is not surprising that a unique technique for the restoration of kintsugi appeared exactly there. Read about it in OUTLOOK.
Flamenco: guitar crying and fierce stomping
What most people know about flamenco, is that this dance is manifestation of neither love and affection, nor entertainment and revelry fun. Fiery expressive flamenco is reflection of suffering and pain of an individual within nation, always persecuted and deprived of home. The dance itself, which has become a global symbol of Spain, is not only its national heritage...
National drinks: Zero degrees and lots of energy
Everyone knows that being in Scotland you should try whiskey, in France you should taste wine, and in Japan t is all about sake. But few people think about national soft drinks. They were created by peoples with far more practical intentions - refreshing and burning, repelling from the climate features, possessing nourishing properties.
Azulejo: Story of tiles
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Twelve guises of South Korea
Only dancing and wearing mask, Korean peasants were able to express their disgust towards rudeness or greed of the hosts or apply to some deity with extraordinary request. Keeping anonymity, the people played out the scenes from life, cried, and laughed. At the end of the performance the destiny awarded the good characters and punished villains.
Закрыть
Outlook facebook page