From the placid peak in Red Fuji, Thunderstorm Beneath the Summit (Fuji in Lightning) presents a dramatic portrait of Japan’s most famous mountain. The composition echoes Red Fuji, but the storm that roars below the peak shifts the viewer’s perception of the mountain: jagged bolts of lightning crack across the bottom right edge of the image and a richly textured snowy peak emerges from the darkness. Unlike the flat plains of color found in Red Fuji, the mountain and the distant scenery gain a sense of solidity amidst the rolling thunder. Hokusai captures the calm above the clouds as the atmosphere below is lost in the darkness. Throughout the genre of meisho-e, or “famous place pictures,” artists considered the beauty of place not as static, but instead ever changing with the season or weather. While each print in Thirty-six Views presents a new impression of Mt. Fuji, together Thunderstorm Beneath the Summit and Fine Wind, Clear Weather function as dedicated portraits of the mountain’s range of beauty.
Other impressions of this print can be found in the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.