Skip to Content

A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything

British Museum / London / Art

Surely there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who’ve chosen Katsushika Hokusai’s Under the Wave of Kanagawa (1831) as their laptop screensaver. A new exhibition at the British Museum presents this beloved print—a massive wave on the cusp of swallowing Mount Fuji—along with less-known work by the Edo-period artist. Especially exciting are 103 brush drawings obtained from a never-published illustrated encyclopedia titled The Great Picture Book of Everything. Hokusai favored woodblock prints and ink brush to capture dynamic motion—from zigzagging dragons’ heads to a cat standoff in a hibiscus bush. These works, all produced between the 1820s and 1840s, depict scenes of Buddhist India, ancient China, and the natural world. They would later shape European Impressionist painting. —J.D.

British Museum Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
Get Directions »
Start a New Search
Subscribers Only

Start your free trial to access the full Arts Intel Report

Subscribe to Air Mail to access every article
and search our entire Arts Intel Report.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in here.