Monday Lectures

Zoom lecture



21 September 2021

Katsushika Hokusai, Kirifuri Falls at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke Province, c. 1833

Fantastic Landscapes: Hokusai and Hiroshige

An exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago until 11 October

With Chris Boïcos



Drawn from the collections of the Art Institute, this exhibition focusses on the two greatest Japanese printmakers of the 19th century whose impact in many ways changed the course of Western art in their period and beyond. In the 19th century, Japanese printmaking saw two concurrent trends: an intensification of color and a rise in the popularity of landscape images. Capitalizing on these two trends were the most successful print designers of their time, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858). Their daring color schemes formed fantastic landscapes that fueled worldwide demand for Japanese prints.


Brilliant blue waterfalls, jade hills, chartreuse cliffs, and pink skies made up a new palette for the natural world as depicted in print. The popularity of series such as Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji and Hiroshige’s One Hundred Views of Edo did more to spread these images at home, in Europe, and in America than ever before.

Utagawa Hiroshige, Awa Province Naruto, Whirlpools, 1855

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