Dine & Wine

Fantastic Fungi – The Tastiest Mushroom Art

Magda Michalska 20 January 2022 min Read

My grandpa is a real expert at mushroom picking, he knows all kinds of mushrooms and he even spots the ones hidden in the high grass. I suck at this, I can probably only distinguish the one with a red cap, the fly amanita. But anyway, let’s have a look at some tasty mushroom art:

Fashionable Mushrooms

mushroom art Katsushika Hokusai, The harvesting of mushrooms, Guimet Museum, Paris, France, mushroom art
Katsushika Hokusai, The harvesting of mushrooms, Guimet Museum, Paris, France.

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.

Forest Mushrooms

mushroom art Otto Marseus van Schrieck, A Forest Floor Still Life, c. 1657, private collection, mushroom art
Otto Marseus van Schrieck, A forest floor still-life with flowers, mushrooms, butterflies, a snake, a frog, and a dragonfly, c. 1657. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

Otto Marseus van Schrieck was one of the leading painters of forest floor still-lifes (yes, there are enough of this sort of painting so that we can even talk about a sub-genre that had a great period of vogue in the mid-17th century). Depicted 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.

Psychedelic Mushrooms

mushroom art Yayoi Kusama, Mushrooms, 1995, private collection, mushroom art
Yayoi Kusama, Mushrooms, 1995, private collection. Flickr.

Yayoi Kusama is probably the most known Japanese artist nowadays. Her psychedelic compositions can be recognized immediately; when you see a gigantic form covered in small dots, it’s probably hers. She has worked with 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.

Toy Mushrooms

mushroom art Takashi Murakami, Army of Mushrooms, 2003, private collection, mushroom art
Takashi Murakami, Army of Mushrooms, 2003. WikiArt.

Takashi Murakami is a contemporary Japanese artist who draws inspiration from Japanese popular culture, comic books, manga, and the 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 of mushroom art…

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