Behind the Art: Is Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ the most famous Japanese artwork?

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Behind the Art: Is Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ the most famous Japanese artwork?

Large waves off the coast of Kanagawa (Namiura off the coast of Kanagawa – under the waves off the coast of Kanagawa) Or commonly known Rogue wave It is a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai. Made in 1831 during the Edo period in Japanese history, this print is one of the most famous Japanese works of art in history. Several museums around the world keep copies of this print. One of the prints is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.woodblock print Under the big wave well off the coast of Kanagawa It sold for $ 1.6 million at the buyer’s premium. That’s ten times the low estimate of $ 150,000 in 2021. This has influenced some prominent artists and musicians, including: Vincent van Gogh, Claude Debussy, Claude Monet, Hiroshige, etc. But what is the story behind this print? Why will it appear on the 1,000-yen bill in Japan from 2024?

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Artist and concept

Hokusai was born in Edo (now Tokyo) in 1760 and began painting at the age of six. When he was 16, he became an apprentice sculptor. He started making illustrations and became an apprentice to Katsukawa Shunsho, one of the ukiyo-e artists of the time. Ukiyo-e is the name of a Japanese woodblock print made in the Edo period. The word “ukiyo-e” means “ukiyo-e” and means the impermanence of the world. Early prints were made in black and white, but Hokusai began to color them. In particular, it is Prussian blue, which is a rare color used in Japan at that time. Hokusai was strongly influenced by Japanese, Chinese, Dutch and French paintings. The artist discovered Western prints that came to his country through Dutch trade. In this way, he became interested in linear perspective and created its Japanese version. He was intrigued by the slanted angles and the contrast between near and far man-made objects and natural objects.This can be seen at Rogue wave.. There is a big wave in the foreground, dwarfing a small mountain in the distance. You can see a small boat in the powerful waves. This print is said to symbolize the changes in Japanese society at that time.Foreign influences have become prominent through trade and are considered a symbol of the Japanese soul thanks to their tranquility and health. Fuji Mountain In printed matter.

Commitment to Mt. Fuji

Rogue wave Hokusai’s most famous work and his first work 36 views of Mt. Fuji series. Hokusai seems to have been absorbed in Mt. Fuji. After all, it is considered to be the highest mountain in Japan and sacred. There was another main reason why he made many prints focusing on this mountain. At that time, domestic travel became a boom, and the market with the image of Mt. Fuji expanded. The prints were purchased by pilgrims who wanted to climb the mountains and tourists who simply wanted to visit the capital and enjoy the scenery.

of Rogue wave, There are big waves in the foreground, dwarfing small mountains in the distance. You can see a small boat in the powerful waves. (Photo: metmuseum.org)

Ukiyo-e and its popularity

Claude Monet Vincent van Gogh I was a big fan of Japanese prints. In a letter to his younger brother Theo, Van Gogh describes how much he praises Hokusai’s work.He praised the quality of his paintings and the wonderful use of lines of famous things Great wave Painting. This piece of artwork left a terrifying emotional impact on his life and art. Hokusai’s prints linearly represent modern urban life using techniques that flatten the space and emphasize the state of the atmosphere.

Since 1640, Japan has been largely closed to the world, allowing only limited exchanges between China and the Netherlands. This changed in the 1850s when trade was forcibly opened by US Admiral Matthew C. Perry. After this, Japanese visual culture flooded the West. At the World’s Fair held in Paris in 1867, Hokusai’s works were exhibited at the Japan Pavilion. This was the first introduction of Japanese culture to the Western public, followed by an enthusiasm for collecting art called “Japonisme”. In addition, Parisian Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet were big fans of Japanese prints. Spatial flattening, interest in atmospheric conditions, and the impermanence of modern urban life are all found in Hokusai’s prints, both reaffirming their artistic interests and influencing many future works of art. Gave.

Japanese time stamp

Rogue wave It is considered to be a time stamp of the time when Japan was transitioning from the old way to modern Japan. This work captures the impact of Western culture on Japan and how Mt. Fuji played an important role in Japanese life. This artwork will soon appear on Japan’s new 1,000-yen banknote, highlighting how important it is to the world of Japanese culture and Western art. Also, when it comes to expressing culture, we will show you how eternal artwork can be.

next Behind the art: What is the significance of The Birth of Venus Sandro Botticelli? Why was it so controversial at the time?

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