My grandpa is a real expert in mushroom picking, he knows all kinds of mushrooms and he spots even the ones hidden in the high grass. I suck at this, can probably distinguish only the one with a red cap, fly amanita. But anyway, autumn is a mushroom season, so let’s have a look at some tasty paintings with mushrooms:
When Hokusai made this print, in the Edo Period (1603-1868), mushroom picking was very fashionable. It was appealing especially to the ladies of the well-to-do merchant classes. They would go with gathering baskets to the satoyama, the countryside hills, to celebrate the coming of the fall season.
Otto Marseus van Schrieck was one of the leading painters of the forest floor still-life (yes, there are multiple paintings of this sort so that we can even talk about a sub-genre which had a great vogue in the mid-17th century). Depicting with meticulous detail the creatures and plants of the forest undergrowth, often in nocturnal settings, Schrieck presented a variety of mushrooms and flowers, including morning glories and a tulip, a frog, a snake and various butterflies.
Kusama is probably the most known Japanese artist nowadays. Her psychedelic compositions can be recognized at first sight: when you see a gigantic form covered in small dots, it’s probably hers. She has worked in a wide range of media: painting, collage, soft sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations. As a precursor of pop art, she has always been interested in repetition and pattern, and her works influenced such great artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and George Segal.
Takashi Murakami is a contemporary Japanese artist who draws inspiration from Japanese popular culture, comic books, manga, toy industry, in order to refer to social and political issues of his native country. Murakami said about his mushrooms: “For me they seem both erotic and cute while evoking – especially for the Western imagination – the fantastic world of fairy tale. I thought that, by uniting the eroticism and the magic side of mushrooms, I could use them as motifs in my work.” He has made around 400 variations on this theme…