Almost 300 years ago Katsushika Hokusai was born in Edo, Japan, and it would only be a few years until the man was to create legendary artwork such as the Hokusai “Great Wave” that would become a legacy and far outlive his death in 1849. Known as “The Master of Ukiyo-e,” a special woodblock print often featuring renderings of folk tales, historic moments, women in stunning kimonos, florals, sumo wrestlers, and waves, Hokusai became widely recognized as the greatest artist in Japan of his time.
So much so that his work, and hundreds of others inspired by it, has traveled 6,688 miles from Japan to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The special exhibit, titled “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence,” honors the lasting impacts of Hokusai’s work.
There are pieces from Hokusai’s archives dating back to the 17th century in addition to modern renditions or completely abstract pieces inspired by Hokusai’s most iconic pieces. The “Great Wave” by Jumpei Mitsu draws inspiration from Hokusai’s own “Great Wave”- Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa. This wood block print created in 1830 displayed a revolutionary amount of detail and awe-inspiring capture of the beauty of nature.
LEGO brick Great Wave display at the MFA
Mitsu’s “Great Wave” is certainly the star of the exhibit. Composed of 50,000 LEGO bricks and taking 400 hours to complete, it might be one of the most intricate LEGO art we’ve ever witnessed. At the entrance you’ll be welcomed by Annabeth Rosen’s own “Wave” creating 11 years ago in 2012. The entire scuplture is made of glazed earthenware that looks similar to ocean bouys and connected via steel wire to create a spiraled wave effect.
As Hokusai was prmarily a woodblock artist, you’ll find a plethora of historic Japanese prints throughtout the massive blue-themed exhbit. There is also a balance with large conceptual scupltures, ceramics, a “Manga:then and now” display, and a dramtic display from Artist Linda Sormin who connects to Hokusai with a physical and digital Boru Sibaso Paet, on the foam of the primordial sea.
Learn more about free admission days at the MFA.
Find Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence at the Museum of Fine Arts through July 16, 2023
465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115