From the age of six I had a penchant for copying the form of things, and from about fifty, my pictures were frequently published; but until the age of seventy, nothing I drew was worthy of notice.
At seventy-three years, I was somewhat able to fathom the growth of plants and trees, and the structure of birds, animals, insects and fish.
Thus when I reach eighty years, I hope to have made increasing progress, and at ninety to see further into the underlying principles of things, so that at one hundred years I will have achieved a divine state in my art, and at one hundred and ten, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.
Hokusai: Postscript to One Hundred Views of Mt Fuji, 1834.
Hokusai painted Beauty on a summer morning when he was forty. It’s one of those which he didn’t think were “worthy of notice”. (Just saying.)
You might also like: ⇒ Beyond the Great Wave at the British Museum (until 13 August 2017)