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Picasso vs. Hokusai: The Best of Five Matches

A contest between famous masterpieces of the world! How will it end?

Picasso vs. Hokusai

From the West, we have the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. From the East, we have the Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. Despite their different styles, both men demonstrated exceptional power and understanding of design, and were able to manifest three dimensions in a two-dimensional world.

Pablo Picasso

The masterpiece “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” is known for being the origin of cubism, a style for which Picasso is famed. It uprooted the traditional composition and perspective styles of painting, and has long been known as a work that heralded the beginning of a new chapter for modern art.

Hokusai

Gunkei Domestic Fowl
Nishiki-e print on uchiwa fan
1835, Edo Period
Tokyo National Museum
Image: TNM Image Archives

Using the unique and restricted space of an uchiwa fan to the artist’s advantage, this work fully exhibits Hokusai’s skillful power of design. Seven cocks and hens are arranged in a heap, but the composition is truly splendid.

What to look for in these masterpieces!

Although these two pieces are completely different in their time period, materials and subject matter, a common thread can be seen in how the subjects were deformed, placed in the picture, and then shaped into a new form through composition. This is formative art that was born from taking on the boundless challenges of art.

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