Through his elegant brush paintings and masterful woodblocks, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) became one of Japan’s most internationally-renowned artists. A master of Ukiyo-e art, he single-handedly transformed the art form from a simple style focused on courtesans and famous actors into a grander style depicting the beauty of nature seen through landscapes and wildlife. His style of art and subject evolved as many times as he changed his name, but Hokusai’s talent as an artist remained constant and his influential role in later art movements such as Art Nouveau and Impressionism remains eternal.
Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896) and Jules de Goncourt (1830-1870) spent the majority of their lives in Paris. Having attended the finest schools, the Goncourts formed one of the most famous literary partnerships. After an unsuccessful novel and some attempts at drama, they began publishing books on various aspects of art and society in 18th -century France. Between 1860 and 1869 the brothers published six novels which they described as “history which might have taken place” and which were as carefully documented as their historical works.
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