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Hokusai's The Great Wave of Kanagawa

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Art appreciation is a way of analyzing artwork critically and understanding the society in which that art originated.

The great wave

The great wave

The enormous wave arched and became ready for the prince with its wavy claws. Natural disasters inspired the orchestral piece "La Mer" by Cloud Debussy.
The work is one of Katsushika Hokusai's "36 Views of Mount Fuji," a collection of Japanese printmakers' woodblocks produced between 1830 and 1833. The title is not "The Great Wave," and the subject is not a wave. Nevertheless, Buddhists and Shintoists have traditionally held it in high respect.

It shows Mount Fuji from various perspectives. Its full name, which alludes to the area where Mount Fuji can be seen in the distance, translates to "under the wave of Kanagawa." Fishermen are also caught in the swell as they attempt to return home after delivering seafood to the city where the composition was created.

Hokusai was a well-known Yukio-e artist, the name for the mass-produced woodblock prints from the Edo period known for their emphasis on line and pure colour and their portrayal of hedonistic city life. In 1760, he was born not far from present-day Tokyo.

Ukiyo-e is a Japanese term that refers to the impermanence of realities and trends of the period.
These are not high-art images that can be purchased for the price of a bowl of noodle soup by a growing middle class. Nevertheless, The movement of water enthralled Hokusai, and he explored the subject on numerous stormy seas and a few calmer ones.

When the great wave was made in the 1830s, because of the isolationist policies of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan was essentially cut off from the rest of the world. The tentacle-like extension from Hokusai's wave shows how he drew inspiration from Japanese Rinpa School artists like Ogata Korin. Nonetheless, due to European reproductions brought in by Dutch traders, western realism crept into Japanese art.

The use of linear perspective, a low horizontal line, and the introduction of Prussian blue, a synthetic colour then extremely new to Japan and hailed from Prussia, all reveal a definite western influence in the great wave. In addition, countless Mount Fuji Prints were produced in Japan, most purchased as keepsakes by a growing market of travellers and pilgrims to the mountains.

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After Hokusai died in the 1850s, trade started to open up, and his artwork was displayed at the 1867 International Exposition in Paris.

Many painters, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, and a multitude of others, were significantly impacted by the image of society and the use of the flattening of space in an artwork. As a result, this artwork was appreciated and collected as Ukiyo-e paintings throughout Europe.

A tsunami struck the northern span in 1896, causing widespread devastation. This event is thought to have launched a big wave of worldwide fame.
The agony does not, however, resemble a tsunami.
The rough wave, dubbed "Plunging breaker" by researchers in 2009, was 32 to 39 feet tall. However, it would undoubtedly be lethal, and this is where the story's real and evident angst begins. We are small compared to nature. This contrast can be noticed in art from various cultures and eras. But maybe nowhere has it been played out more clearly and distinctly than in this case.

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