A Moment in Art History Video: The Great Wave off Kanagawa – How Much Influence Can a Simple Woodblock Print have on World Culture?

Today we’ll be looking at The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese woodblock print artist Hokusai. The piece started showing up all over the world in the late 19th century, and it has become a major cultural icon since then.

Artwork in the background on this video:

Ink and watercolors on ricepaper by Karen Jensen: https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/karen-kurka-jensen

Memory Horse by John Stebila: https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/john-stebila

Landscape with Canoe by Lucy Dickens: https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/lucy-dickens

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. Love your art history presentations!!! Can’t wait to see your gallery in person sometime soon!!!

  2. I did see a print of this at a show in San Francisco. It’s one of my favorite woodcuts. I have the tee-shirt and socks and notebook. The balance of calm and drama is amazing.

  3. Thanks Jason. I have seen this at the Met, NY. Also saw an absolutely wonderful exhibition at NY’s Japan Society of Hasegawa Tohaku and his beautiful gold screens. It was the first time ever that his works were shown outside of Japan. Highly recommend it if you can see the tremendous work by this 16th century artist.

  4. I love this artist. The calendar in my kitchen is of his artwork, so I can see a new image every month, and I also have a vintage bottle (with Sake inside) of Kikukawasake, with this image on one side and a different one on the other. And I hadn’t realized this inspired Art Nouveau, which I also love….Thank you for sharing.

  5. Perfect timing! I am just about to start some lessons on printing with my students and am now going to include this video in the lessons. Thank you so much!

  6. I loved the featured artists presentations.
    They all were just wonderful, especially the assemblage Artist. I really enjoyed his fun and quirky piece.
    Thank you Jason for the experience through your excellent presentation.


  7. Thank you for preparing and sharing this art history lesson, Jason. I’ve seen photos of this work and now I know some history about it and the artist thanks to you.

  8. Thanks very much for these art history videos, Jason. I enjoy them.
    I remember well, a visit to the Met in NYC, and my determination to see “The Wave” before I left. After a hurried walk through all sorts of wonderful things in the Asian section, I came across the print. I was startled by how small it was. Of course, because of its ubiquity in current culture, I was familiar with the image but I was expecting the actual image to be much larger. It was a strange feeling of deflation, expecting so much more, and yet also being in awe. Sort of like when I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, many years ago.

  9. Love your presentations of art history moments. They are just long enough to peak our interest and give some pertinent information but short enough to fit into any schedule. While I am familiar with this piece and it’s maker, I learned several intriguing facts I was unaware of and plan to research for even more. That’s the epitome of art study,Right? Thanks for you efforts.

  10. Several years ago, I saw several of the prints on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. There was a lecture that explained the differences in the prints. They were on display for a short period of time, about three months I believe. They will bring them out infrequently – only about every five years, to help preserve them.

  11. There used to be a house painted with the image of the Great Wave on 5th St. SW in Calgary.
    Sadly, it’s gone now.

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