Hokusai animated NGV promo video (Courtesy of NGV)

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has opened an exhibition of one of Japan’s most influential and prolific artists, Katsushika Hokusai to Melbourne audiences.

Hosting more than 150 works, including rare paintings on silk and hand-printed manga (illustrated books), Hokusai is the creator of ‘The Great Wave’ and was a self-proclaimed ‘drawing maniac’ producing a large body of work.

Few selected works on show

The exhibition is the result of a landmark collaboration between the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum (JUM) and the NGV. This exhibition showcases the complete sets of Hokusai’s five career defining series and 15 editions of the Hokusai Manga which demonstrate the artist’s irreverent and humorous illustrations, which would influence the development of contemporary manga, and identify him as a pioneer of the popular form.

“Katsushika Hokusai is considered one of Japan’s greatest and enduringly popular artists. His moving and dramatic compositions, including The Great Wave, show the coexistence between humanity and the awesome power of nature, a relationship that is as relevant today as it was in the nineteenth century,” said NGV Director, Tony Ellwood.

“The unprecedented Australian exhibition, Hokusai, offers audiences a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the artist’s influential legacy in one of the most comprehensive exhibitions ever staged outside of Japan,” said Ellwood.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Ground-breaking for his day, Hokusai proved a transformative influence on Japanese art, using new technologies, introducing new colours and experimenting with design and perspective to bring a 3D quality to the tradition 2D Japanese pictorial aesthetic.

The Hokusai exhibition is running at the NGV from the 21 July - 15 October. For more information or to book tickets, see the NGV site here.

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