Free «Hokusai versus Hitler» Essay Sample

Katsushika Hokusai was a renowned Japanese painter and print maker in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He is known to have been an expert in Chinese paintings and stood out as Japanese best painter in Chinese paintings. He created the internationally recognized and iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa during the early eighteenth century. He is also the author of the woodblock series Thirty six views of Mount Fuji. The Great Wave off Kanagawa published in the eighteenth century is one of his famous woodblock prints in his series the Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji. Several of these famous prints exist around the world in museums and private collections.

In the Great Wave off Kanagawa, a huge wave that resembles a large claw is developed to appear ready to crash down on tiny vessels below.

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Developed from polychrome woodblock print, ink and color on paper, The Great Wave off Kanagawa portrays three vessels in an angry sea where the vessels encounter enormous waves. Mount Fuji is portrayed in a distance. The people in the vessels below appear to clump together in desperation and fear from the overwhelming power of the sea. Mount Fuji is placed right at the center of the composition with its motionless and serene posture. The snow capped Mount Fuji at the center resembles the waves from their white foam edges. Mount Fuji has been considered a sacred mountain and has been visited by many people as a favorite tourist destination. This work is considered to have outstanding graphic beauty clearly bringing out the compelling force of the contrast between Mount Fuji and the huge wave.

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The huge wave appears to tower above the viewer, with Mount Fuji depicted as tiny and centered in the composition and appears in a distance (Richardson 16).

In his work, Hokusai intended to depict an extraordinary large storm wave. This wave from Hokusai's work has inspired many aspects of daily living in the world in the past and today. It is thought to have inspired music, letter composition and literature in the humanities. Hokusai's works has also had contributions to the scientific world. The Great Wave off Kanagawa depicts clearly the fractal nature of breaking waves seen in the oceans. Hokusai is considered to have had great ability in nature observation. Though The Great Wave off Kanagawa can be artistically interpreted as typical ocean wave, this work is largely viewed in representational terms (Cartwright and Nakamura).

Apart from the war lord character Hitler is known for, he is known to be a famous artist before and even during the world war. He produced the work Lebensraum in Oils. He was a student of fine art and made several great paintings in his life. His profound artistic vision is believed to have been translated from dreams to reality as he struggled and made relevant contribution in the development of flourishing culture in Germany. Most of Hitler's artistic works were labeled degerative arts or negative art. It suggested incomprehensibility and negativity of the universe, and was at cross roads with noble ideas and positivist ideas that the National Socialist movements advocated for.

Hitler's artistic works depicted his believe and advocacies that modern art was generally in conflict with eternal values of beauty and therefore it could only result in decline of civilization. He believed that modern art detached people from identifying with the optimistic expressions of art mainly because in was incomprehensible.


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