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Unread 05-30-2024, 12:29 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 8,395
Default Hokusai's Great Wave

I enjoyed this 20-min video very much. Thought some here might, too.

I can't believe how much I didn't know about an image I've seen so many times.
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Unread 05-30-2024, 01:41 AM
Glenn Wright Glenn Wright is online now
Join Date: Mar 2024
Location: Anchorage, AK
Posts: 268

Hi, Julie
Wow! This was fascinating. “The Great Wave” is iconic and instantly recognizable, but I had not even realized that there was more than one boat in it. I also didn’t know that Japanese is read from right to left. I saw that there were some other video clips from the British Museum on the scientific work that goes on behind the scenes. The one on the Sutton Hoo exhibit looks interesting. Thanks for sharing this!
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Unread 06-02-2024, 08:48 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 4,280

Thanks for this Julie (I think).

It is always a dueling feeling I get when I become aware of the depth of a piece of art, whether it be a print like this, a painting, a sculpture, a poem, a novel, a song, etc. The first feeling I get is one of awe. The realization of the depth of the human artistic intellect, the effort it takes to create, the inspiration that sparks it, and the vision it spawns. Awesome.

The second feeling I get is hopelessness. I realize the futility of my place in the pantheon of those who call themselves artists. I am scribbling in the dust. I am a poor, lesser Prufrock. We are legion Ha!

So thanks, Julie. You made me think : )

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Unread 06-02-2024, 02:12 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Northern New Jersey
Posts: 8,965

But this is all about forensics and woodblock printing technique--am I right? OK, it covers the tradition on mechanics, but there isn't much on Hokusai. (To be honest, I watched the first three minutes and skimmed through the rest). Not surprisingly, the narrator works in a laboratory.

Art curation will one day require degrees in physics, radiology and statistics. Maybe this is already happening as they shut down art history departments.

Selah! ~,:^0
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Unread 06-02-2024, 03:14 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
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Glenn and Jim, I'm glad you found it interesting.

Rick, I appreciate your frustration (which you've noted here before) about the technical trend in art curation. I agree that it too often has a "to a man with a hammer" (or x-ray, or fancy new chemical analysis gadget), "everything looks like a nail" approach.

Actually, it was similar frustration with the mid-1980s trend toward regarding works of literature primarily as documents about the socioeconomic structure of the society of the author's time and place, rather than as universal vehicles for beauty and emotional impact, that led me to change my major from comparative literature. The comp lit department made it clear that to properly appreciate literature, one must deliberately avoid experiencing any sort of admiration, wonder, or joy. Bah.

But in this case, when all that exist (and all that most of Hokusai's contemporaries ever saw) are mass-produced reproductions of Hokusai's original painting, I think pondering the technical details of that reproductive process—and on variations in the individual copies that one may encounter in museums—is appropriate. Especially when 22 of the 111 prints are missing the clouds in the background, either due to light damage and fugitive colorants or due to that level of the original woodblocks having gone missing by the time of that particular printing.

Surely it's worth pondering that Hokusai's original painting is more distant from some 19th-century prints than from others.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 06-02-2024 at 03:17 PM.
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