Bath High School Arts

Art Box

“The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai

This woodblock print was completed between 1829-1833. It is one of the most famous and recognized works of Japanese art. The print was the first of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. The print shows a huge wave looming over three boats off the Sagami Bay (Kanagawa Prefecture). Mountin Fuji can also be seen in the distance. The whitewater seems to be reaching out in a viscous manner. The ends seeming claw-like, trying to grab the boats. The large wave represents the weakness human beings have and how powerful nature can be. The foreground wave and the background mountain shows great perspective. The 39cm x 26cm print shows two different aspects of life. The wave depicts unpredictablity and chaos in life. The way life is now in front of us is chaotic, but hope is out there. Mount Fuji depicts stillness and eternity from a far. This is the hope of better that looms out in the distance. It shows that people have to get through the chaos to find peace.