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Mushroom Picking? The Tastiest Mushroom Art


Mushroom Picking? The Tastiest Mushroom Art

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:

Fashionable mushrooms

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

Otto Marseus van Schrieck, A Forest Floor Still Life, c. 1657, private collection, mushroom art

Otto Marseus van Schrieck, A Forest Floor Still Life, c. 1657, private collection

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.

Psychedelic mushrooms

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

Yayoi Kusama, Mushrooms, 1995, private collection

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.

Toy mushrooms

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

Takashi Murakami, Army of Mushrooms, 2003, private collection

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…

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.


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