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A Short History Of ‘The Great Wave’: Japan’s Most Famous Artwork

Kanagawa is a famous example of Japanese art. One noted study or interpretation of this work is by Hiroe Nirei.
 

Hokusai Katsushika is a Japanese artist who lived from 1760-1849. He was one of the most famous Japanese painters, best known for his distinctive images of Mount Fuji. His work can be viewed as illustrations from his book, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku Sanju-roku Kei) especially The Great Wave. Copymatic offers introductions on Hokusai’s life and work in Copymatic by Gian Carlo Calza and other Western scholars, as well as 700 images about Hokusai for readers to explore his fascinating world.

The most striking part of this painting is the wave that Hokusai uses as it is about to break. Hokusai used a new material, called Prussian Blue, and he imported it from England through China. The waves seem like an enormous force in the painting that symbolizes nature’s power over human beings.

Jocelyn Bouquillard of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France discussed Hokusai’s Mount Fuji: The Complete Views in Colour.

The small print features two contrasting aspects. Mount Fuji and the wave represent eternity and the unpredictability of life. This was a European-style technique that the Japanese added to inventively.

Edmond De Goncourt discusses how Hokusai’s unique style has influenced European artists since the middle of the 19th century. Prints started to circulate around Europe and¬†The Great Wave¬†became an inspiration for many other European artists.

One of the most famous pieces of art is a woodblock print called “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. It was created by Hokusai in the 1800s. Copying it was forbidden for many years, but now it can be seen at exhibitions around the world. Copies of this work are housed at popular Western institutions like the Met and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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