Under the Wave off Kanagawa, or The Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, ca. 1830-32. Katsushika Hokusai. Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper. The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936.
The breathtaking composition of this woodblock print, said to have inspired Debussy’s La Mer (The Sea) and Rilke’s Der Berg (The Mountain), ensures its reputation as an icon of world art. Hokusai cleverly played with perspective to make Japan’s grandest mountain appear as a small triangular mound within the hollow of the cresting wave. The artist became famous for his landscapes created using a palette of indigo and imported Prussian blue.