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Under the Wave off Kanagawa: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This print is Hokusai's most famous image and an icon of Japanese art. Yet, after it was published, Utagawa Hiroshige, another luminary of woodblock print design, criticized it. He claimed that it was too unconventional and artificial. Certainly it is Hokusai's most extreme and daring composition. It is one of thirty-six images designed by Hokusai that celebrates Japan's sacred Mount Fuji. He later added ten designs, which are popularly known as "Fuji from the Other Side." In this print, the great wave arches high over Fuji, seen in the distance, both dwarfing the conical mountain and calling attention to it. Three boats are tossed in the waves, conjuring a symbolic contrast between the inconsequentiality of mankind and the majesty of nature. The vivid tones of Prussian blue, imported from the Netherlands around 1829, greatly heighten the print's dramatic impact.
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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009