Great Wave Of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai



Title

Great Wave Of Kanagawa

Artist

Katsushika Hokusai

Ref RX81066-D1C
Type Canvas Print
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Description  
“Great Wave of Kanagawa” is arguably one of Katsushika Hokusai’s most celebrated woodblock prints and was the first in his series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” The highly influential print of “Great Wave of Kanagawa” was owned by artists including Monet and Van Gogh, whilst also supposedly acting as an influence for Debussy’s “La Mer”. The presence of the stable mountain in the distance is Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and is framed by the okinami, a “wave of the open sea”. This mountain is considered a sacred symbol of Japanese national identity and the smaller waves in the foreground of the print echo the snow-topped peak of Mount Fuji. This fantastic print reflects the relationship between man and nature, as the vulnerable fishermen are attempting to escape the threatening fury of the sea in their oshiokuri-bune (fast boats used to transport live fish). The aggressive movement of the sea is juxtaposed with the calm empty space beneath the claw-like wave. Whilst the impending crash of the powerful wave emits a sense of fear and tension, the sun reflecting off Mount Fuji in the distance emanates hope to both the observer and fishermen. The presence of figures in a scene of everyday life was unconventional in earlier Japanese prints, along with the inclusion of long-distance perspective and subtle shading in the sky. “Great Wave of Kanagawa” defies the quintessential Japanese artwork of the early nineteenth century and combines of both Western and Japanese painting and printmaking traditions.