The great wave off Kanagawa is the major draw card to the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition Hokusai which showcases 176 works of the celebrated Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. This is an ideal opportunity to acquaint yourself with the art of Japanese woodblocks and in doing so, you will join the ranks of Monet, Degas and Gaugin who were all great fans. Van Gogh remarked: ‘These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it’. And he was right!
The great wave has been reinterpreted across the globe, from fashion designs to cartoon images including the universally known logo of the surfing world, Quicksilver.
All the work in this exhibition bursts with life and emotion as you can see in this woodblock print depicting a man and a woman perilously negotiating a suspension bridge .
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was one of the most influential figures in the history of Japanese art. He changed names and homes all through his life but it was in his later years that he created his most memorable and iconic work. At the age of 70 he was commissioned to create a serious of 36 views of Mount Fuji, of which The Great Wave is one.
Everyday life and activity is exquisitely portrayed in the prints, paintings, scrolls and hand printed books making up this amazing exhibition. There’s action at every turn. The more you look, the more you see. The detail is sensitive and delicate. This teahouse scene is one such example, as is the the other depicting men repairing a roof.
You can almost hear the workers calling out and you’re left wondering whether that bundle actually got caught!
Prints, paintings, scrolls and hand printed books make up this amazing exhibition. It’s charming, captivating and intensely interesting. Featured are Hokusai’s iconic manga (comical drawings) which are not to be missed. The detail is extraordinary and draws you in. Make sure you leave enough time to enjoy these.
While The Great Wave is a focus of this exhibition other features include sets of his famous series, Tour of famous waterfalls, Unusual views of celebrated bridges, Eight views of the Ryukyu Island, Birds and flowers and Ghost tales.
There’s a charm to each and every one of these works through the delicacy of line, the colours employed and the images portrayed.
“Hokusai is just not one other artist among others in the Floating World. He is an island, a continent, a whole world in himself” Edgar Degas
St Kilda Road
21 JUL 2017 – 15 OCT 2017 Open 10AM to 5PM Daily