The Great Wave Off Kanagawa: a Masterpiece on Clothes01/17/2020
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is one of the most famous prints of Katsushika Hokusai. It should therefore be listed in Japanese artist collection. However, it seems inconceivable not to give it its own collection, considering its huge reputation. Whether you are asked to quote a Hokusai’s work, a work from the Ukiyo-e movement or simply a famous Japanese work, the answer will usually be the same: The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.
First of all: Who is Katsushika Hokusai?
Katsushika Hokusai: “The Fool of Drawing”, is related to Ukiyo-e’s artistic movement, which is considered as the Golden Age of Japanese painting. He is even the most recognized figure of this movement today. It is therefore the most famous Japanese artist in the world. His work has amazed millions of people since the 19th century and European artistic currents have been widely influenced by him.
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
The Great Wave off Kanagawa, better known as The Wave, has been published in 1830 or 1831. It was during the Edo period. This print is the most famous work of Hokusai. It is also the first of his famous series Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, in which the use of Prussian blue renewed the language of Japanese print. This blue pigment, cheap and recently imported from the West, allows Hokusai, to give more depth to the wave.
The Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji
This collection of prints, “36 views of Mount Fuji”, includes especially the most popular of all his work, and perhaps of all Ukiyo-e movement. This series shows Mount Fuji in different seasons and from a variety of places and distances. It consists in reality of 46 prints, created between 1826 and 1833. To the 36 prints that were in the original publication, 10 were added later.
The composition of the Wave
The print is a composition in two plans with three elements. In the foreground, we can see two blue and white waves, one occupying half of the composition, the other smaller, carrying three transport boats with it. The gaze of the spectator is drawn into the hollow of the great wave, that is to say, in the center of the action. In the background is Mount Fuji, reduced by the effect of perspective. The general composition is characterized by a lot of simplicity: the work is purified of useless details.
The composition of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, a synthesis of traditional Japanese printmaking and Western “perspective”, was an immediate success in Japan, and later in Europe, where it was one of the Impressionists’ sources of inspiration. Several museums keep copies, such as:
- The Guimet Museum (France)
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (United States)
- British Museum (UK)
- The French National Library (France)
They generally come from the great private collections of Japanese prints made in the nineteenth century.
Our Great Wave Off Kanagawa Collection
Our Classic Version Of The Great Wave
All our t-shirts presented in this collection are unisex. They represent the Great Wave in different versions. And each of these variants is also available in a duplicated design with an upside-down wave.