Looking Back: Hokusai's The Great Wave

The British Museum’s Timothy Clarke explores the legacy and impact of legendary Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic image, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Head of the Japanese Section at the British Museum, Timothy Clark, shares his expertise on Hokusai’s famous work known colloquially as The Great Wave.

Hokusai often married traditional Japanese techniques and newer European influences, including utilising the Prussian blue pigment that typifies the famous colour woodblock print published in 1831.

Clark discusses how The Great Wave off Kanagawa’s playful composition and hybrid nature influenced artists across the globe, and how composers too, such as Debussy took inspiration from the print as its popularity outside Japan rose in the latter part of the 19th century.

He also touches on how the well-known image gained a new lease of life in the digital era, seeing it projected to viral fame in a world dominated by the internet.

Filmed at the British Museum in 2017 during an exhibition of Katsushika Hokusai’s work

As a new exhibition dedicated to Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai opens at the British Museum in London, this film explores the legacy and impact of his most iconic image, the Great Wave, and asks why it has such appeal.
IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

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