The Great Wave


The picture above shows the cover of one of my sketchbooks that features a print of Katsushika Hokusai’s Under the Wave off Kanagawa. The modern version is a near exact copy of the original, though the new image draws the viewer’s gaze to the large wave instead of Mt. Fuji in the background. Additionally, the space between the foreground and background differ between works, as the newer one fills the cover with images of the wave and boats, and the original has an expansive empty space covering a majority of the print. Regardless, both works were intended to be viewed and enjoyed by an audience as a symbol of art and creativity, either through influential Japanese trade or by providing a space to collect various other works of art and creation via the sketchbook itself. The medium on which both pieces were created are fairly similar, each being ink-printed onto paper. The original Wave, however, was stamped into the initial paper copy by use of wooded stamps coated in different colored dyes. The contemporary version was etched into a cardboard slab in a similar, though modern, fashion using laser-jet printers and the respective dyes that are used by them. The biggest difference between the two images, aside from the printing methods, are the ways each piece is appreciated. The original was sold and distributed all across the world and made to be admired, though the modern image is simply a pretty book cover that is not meant to have much though put into it, as books emphasize the exploration of whatever lies between the covers rather than what’s on them.

Parisian Perspective


The oil painting above, depicting a clear-skied Parisian day, is one of many works of art following the linear perspective model. Similar to Masaccio’s Holy Trinity, this painting, which I will refer to as Paris, follows an interconnected grid of non-visible lines meant to pull the viewer’s attention to one specific point. In the case of Paris, the focal point lies near the base of the building just below the Eiffel Tower, which is shown by the outwards placement of the buildings and increasingly wide floor space as you move from the top to the bottom of the piece. In the second picture, you can actually see faint lines carved either into the oil paints themselves, or drawn onto the canvas below that lead to the focal point and may have been used as a reference for proportions and ratios within the painting. This image differs from Holy Trinity because it is non-religious, and shows a bigger emphasis on horizontal lines, as opposed to vertical ones. Additionally, Paris is painted with oil paints on canvas while Holy Trinity was composed of water-based paints on fresco, due to the different purposes they serve. Paris was meant to be sold and moved as a decorative piece, while the permanent fresco of Holy Trinity was meant as a religious statement piece in Santa Maria Novella.

– Natalie, Team Vesta