Masterpieces: The Great Wave

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847)

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1760–1849 Tokyo (Edo))

Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as The Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), ca. 1830–32

Woodblock print; ink and color on paper

10 1/8 x 14 15/16 in. (25.7 x 37.9 cm)

The breathtaking composition of this woodblock print, said to have inspired Debussy’s La Mer (The Sea) and Rilke’s Der Berg (The Mountain), ensures its reputation as an icon of world art. Hokusai cleverly played with perspective to make Japan’s grandest mountain appear as a small triangular mound within the hollow of the cresting wave. The artist became famous for his landscapes created using a palette of indigo and imported Prussian blue.

Visit the Museum

Long form articles:

https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/conservation-and-scientific-research/conservation-stories/2020/hokusai-great-wave

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/great-wave-hokusai-180973693/

https://www.artic.edu/articles/743/seeing-triple-the-great-wave-by-hokusai

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/66591/15-things-you-might-not-know-about-great-wave-kanagawa

Hokusai’s Great Wave (Objects in Focus)

Clark, Timothy

Published by British Museum Press (2012)

ISBN 10: 0714124672 ISBN 13: 9780714124674

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