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Introducing Hokusai: Mad about Painting (Part One)

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Language Arts And English +2 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This Learning Lab Collection introduces three themes from the Hokusai:  Mad about Painting exhibition and provides works of art, classroom activities, and discussion questions associated with each theme.  Works of art selected for this Learning Lab highlight the first of two installations of the Hokusai exhibition, on view November 2019-April 2020.  The activities and discussions can be completed before or after your visit to the Hokusai:  Mad about Painting exhibition on view in the Freer Gallery of Art.  If you are unable to visit the exhibition, this Learning Lab allows you to virtually connect with the works of art and exhibition content on view for the first rotation of the galleries.  A second Learning Lab (Part Two) will be introduced in March for the second gallery installation.

Tags:  #AsiaTeachers; Be a Reporter; customs; daily life; dragons; Edo; Great Wave; Hokusai; Japan; nature; New Year; personification; poetry; power; Project Zero; Mount Fuji; See Think Wonder; Step Inside; symbols; thunder; woodblock print

About the tour:

Japanese Art and Culture
Grades K-12
Tour size limit: 45 students
Tour availability:  December 2, 2019 – November 13, 2020
One adult chaperone is required per each group of 10 students.
What can works of art tell us about cultural values?  How is the concept of “place” significant in Japanese art?  Transport yourself into misty mountains, rushing streams, and peaceful abodes when you explore the Japanese art of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) in the special exhibition Hokusai: Mad about Painting.  Learn about the symbols and stories that make the works of art culturally significant for the people of Japan.

About the exhibition:

Hokusai:  Mad about Painting
November 23, 2019–November 8, 2020
Freer Gallery of Art, galleries 5–8

The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) is widely recognized for a single image—Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa, an icon of global art—yet he produced thousands of works throughout his long life. Charles Lang Freer recognized the artist’s vast abilities before many other collectors, and he assembled the world’s largest collection of paintings, sketches, and drawings by Hokusai. In commemoration of the centennial of Freer’s death in 1919, and in celebration of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, the Freer Gallery presents a yearlong exploration of the prolific career of Katsushika Hokusai. Works large and small are on view, from six-panel folding screens and hanging scrolls to paintings and drawings. Also included are rare hanshita-e, drawings for woodblock prints that were adhered to the wood and frequently destroyed in the process of carving the block prior to printing. Among the many featured works are Hokusai’s manga, his often-humorous renderings of everyday life in Japan. Together, these works reveal an artistic genius who thought he might finally achieve true mastery in painting—if he lived to the age of 110.


The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Freer|Sackler Education

Thunder god

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Descending dragon

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Ascending dragon

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Comparing and Contrasting

Freer|Sackler Education

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Freer|Sackler Education

Hokusai Manga

Freer|Sackler Education

Country Scenes and Mount Fuji; one of a pair with F1902.48

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Country Scenes and Mount Fuji; one of a pair with F1902.49

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

New Year Custom: Wish for a New Year's Auspicious Dream

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Pounding Rice for Mochi

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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Freer|Sackler Education

Boy Viewing Mount Fuji

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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Freer|Sackler Education

See/Think/Wonder: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Reporter’s Notebook: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access