Online Artist #3: Katsushika Hokusai

I remember learning about Katsushika Hokusai in an intro to visual arts class and I was drawn to his color wood block print called Great Wave of Kanagawa.  Wanting to further my knowledge of his catalog, I looked up his work and found this crane piece.  I enjoy this crane image by Hokusai because there seems to be a lot of movement but time stands still.   From what I’ve learned from modern Japanese literature writer Junichiro Tanizaki, Japanese tradition of aesthetics includes asymmetry and irregularity.  This is evident in this Hokusai’s piece.  No two cranes are the same and even if two birds are facing the same way next to each other, one crane’s head will be pointed more upward than the crane in front of it.  The counter-clockwise movement throughout this work as a whole draws the eyes all around the piece without specific emphasis on any one corner or section.  I noticed that the cranes are mostly facing either downward or to the left.  This could be a reference to the Japanese culture of looking to the to the past for answers rather than facing right to the future, the style of “the West”.  Below is another work from Hokusai of a fish swimming up stream.  I like the way he ribbons the water and shows the fish interweaving through the strands.  

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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