Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave
Thames and Hudson
Japan and art is not one but a myriad of chapters for themselves.
One of Japan’s preeminent artists is Hokusai, a maestro that achieved the heights of his oeuvre towards the final years of his life and mainstream pop cultural success and appreciation through what is definitely an iconic and one of the more known creations in the realm of art form the land of the rising sun, i.e. The Great Wave, which he created at towards the end of his career.
What Thames and Hudson’s opulently illustrated homage to Hokusai illustrates is that there was much more genius in and behind the man than his more known emissions would suggest. Zero-ing in on the second half of his life, the tome depicts his ambitious endeavours for innovation, marrying impressionism and art noveau and looking to pushing the envelope while choosing themes for his paintings that resonated with the middleclass of the Edo-era.
His most expressive works are the ones personifying forces of nature. The depth and dimensions he gives seemingly overly explored themes is awe-inspiring, which is amplified when one examines the attention to detail he put into his atmospheric carved wood prints.
Thames and Hudson’s tome on the master is a comprehensive one comprised of an interesting mélange of vibrant depictions of his famous paintings, detailed prints and comparative sketches that document how his works came about and evolved over time, with the main focus being on his 1830 landscape series.
Elaborate essays courtesy of Hokusai scholars help to gain a superb understanding of the subtleties and nuances of his works and the way they are penned should be interested to both aficionados in the know as well an the uninitiated.
Beyond the Great Wave gives an excellent overview of is life, how it informed his art and why to this day he is unrivaled in what this great Japanese artist has created.