Detail from Katsushika Hokusai, The great wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki namiura), (1830–34), from the Thirty-six views of Mt Fuji (Fugaku-sanjū-rokkei)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1909 (426-2)
Hokusai's Great Wave is the enduring image of Japanese art. Less well known is the story of its primary pigment - Prussian blue - which was created in a lab accident in Berlin and sparked 'blue fever' in Europe.
A detail from Vincent Van Gogh’s A wheatfield, with cypresses, early September 1889.
National Gallery, London. Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1923 (NG3861) © The National Gallery, London
Van Gogh's immersion in the natural world, for his art and for its therapeutic effects, saw him observe in minute detail the changing of the seasons.
Degas beautifully captured women in private moments.
Detail of Edgar Degas, Woman seated on the edge of the bath sponging her neck c. 1880–95, Musée D’Orsay, Paris
Edgar Degas was fascinated with women's bodies. Whether dancing, ironing or bathing, he captured these intimate moments with a voyeur's detached scrutiny.
The yellow in Van Gogh’s Starry Night looks like symptoms of foxglove extract overdose.
Many suspect Van Gogh suffered from foxglove extract overdose due to the yellow halos in his paintings and his portrait of his physician holding the plant.