Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Great Wave, Hokusai

The Great Wave is well-known, centuries after its creation. It adorns college dorm walls and hangs framed in many homes, and yet most don't even know who created it. It was Hokusai, a Japanese artist and printmaker who lived in Japan from 1760 until 1849.

Hokusai was a student of the ukiyo-e tradition, a style combining both wood-block prints and painting. At first, he learned just to use this method for the purpose of portraiture, but eventually adapted it to create scenes like The Great Wave. Like the typical Asian art tradition, many of his works focused on nature, the power of it, or its ability to dwarf human beings within its massive expanse.