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02:21:31 pm

The Great Wave of Kanagawa, a Painting by Hokusai

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In this oil painting you can almost hear the roar of this mighty wave as it crests to an enormous peak. How could the three fishing boats ever survive it? Their craft is dwarfed by the mammoth wave. See the fishermen crouched on their knees. Are they frightened? Are they in serious peril?

Not really. We can tell that the artist is not trying to transmit the terror of the ocean or the cruelty of the elements. You can see his sense of humor in this woodcut. The artist looks at the ocean and sees a design. He has cradled the three boats in the waves and has created a balance in the picture. He has detailed the whitecaps and exaggerated the curves to emphasize the natural pattern.

This delightful picture was made by the well-known Japanese artist, Hokusai. He was extremely productive; in his lifetime he made more than 30,000 designs, paintings, and woodcuts.

This seascape ¡°The Great Wave of Kanagawa¡± is one of a series of prints. Hokusai set an interesting problem for himself. He made 36 different designs, all having one thing in common. Somewhere in each picture was a view of Mount Fuji. You can¡¯t miss it in this one. In other scenes you see the mountain from close up or from afar, from towns, boats or roof tops, and even from inside of homes. All the scenes are prints done in this same graceful style using line and strong pattern.

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