The Great Wave of Kanagawa is one of the most important works of the Japanese painter Hokusai: in it you find the typical features of oriental art...
Katsushika Hokusai was born in 1760 and was one of the greatest exponents of Japanese art of the Edo period (which lasted from 1603 to 1868), attributable to the years in the history of Japan in which the Tokugawa family held power through a military government. At that time Japanese citizens were not allowed to travel abroad and foreigners were not allowed into Japan. The capital, Edo, was the present Tokyo. He was an apprentice in an engraving studio from the age of 13 and at the age of 19 he understood that he wanted to be an artist. He never stopped learning and continued to make works that are still famous throughout the world.
He was the author of many manga, published since he was 55, and had many disciples. His manga was drawing manuals for his students. The readers of his manga were the working class, the craftsmen, and the rich collectors. His manga was also a source of knowledge and cultural growth for his readers. In his manga it was practiced to portray Mount Fuji and many other images taken from reality or fantasy, which remained for him a database of images to access in case of need.
He painted his most important works after the age of 70. The ukiyo-e style, image of the floating world, of passing life, was characteristic of the Edo period. Ukiyyo-e prints were mass produced, such as "The Great Wave of Kanagawa", which dates back to 1830-31 and is part of a famous series called "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" where the power of nature and man's vulnerability are well represented. Hokusai's wave and Japanese painting were conditioned by the realism and precision of Western art that arrived in Japan through Dutch merchants and French impressionists, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet and many other European artists were in turn influenced by Hokusai's prints. Van Gogh wrote, "Hokusai ... his drawings; the waves are like claws clinging to the ship and I can almost hear them. The success coincided with major economic problems caused by some family members and he was forced to live in poverty for several years. He married twice and had 6 children, two of whom died at a young age and three of whom were artists. He died in 1849, at 89 years of age, cared for by his daughter, illustrator.