South Wind, Clear Sky
Hokusai's "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" is justly celebrated as one of the world's greatest series of images of various conditions and vantage points of a particular place, in this case, the mountain synonymous with Japan. Juxtaposed here with the clear brilliant calm of "South Wind, Clear Sky" (the "Red Fuji"), the Storm Below Fuji reveals the expressive range and power of Hokusai's vision. Forky across the inky base, a bolt of white lightning dramatizes the sudden change from a cloud filled summer sky to the murky violence that obscures all below Fuji's magnificent cone.
This series created such a sensation that the publisher Eijudo expanded the original conception to eventually include forty-six prints in this series. Another version pulled from the same block includes a line of trees, dimly visible in the rain below the mountain, but this print more effectively implies the awesome moment of the summer storm by eliminating this explicit depiction of rain.
This series is noted for its particular blue color, called "Berlin indigo" (bero-ai), a pigment newly introduced by Dutch merchants.