I only beg that gentlemen of sufficiently long life take care to note the truth of my words”.
- Hokusai, Aged 72
The Hokusai exhibition at the Oriental Museum in Durham is on at the same time as Hockney’s retrospective (See Hockney’s Retrospective) He’s best known, of course, for ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ (shown below), which has been reproduced so often in our newspapers following the tsunami of last March. But the fascination of the exhibition is how, just like Hockney, who is now 74, this great artist continually developed and reinvented his art. Hokusai didn’t reach the venerable age referred to in the quotation above (he died aged 89) but he didn’t let old age diminish his talent or inventiveness.
In an earlier posting (See Max, aged 5, catches a fish and eats it raw) I warned of the dangers of eating live octopus, as the tentacles can attach themselves to the inside of your mouth. In this drawing, from the Hokusai Shunga (or Spring Pictures) collection an octopus is seen enjoying an altogether different feast.