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Artifacts Research Paper For Applied Humanities Class

Cultural Artifacts

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For the presentation, my artwork is paintings. Caillebotte Gustave did the first painting. The painting titled Paris Street; Rainy day was done in 1877 (Rahn, 2015). The painting with a dimension of 6’ 11.5” by 9’ 0.75” canvas with oil plant is currently located in Art Institute of Chicago, USA. The second art of painting is by Hokusai Katsushika, titled The Great Wave done between 1830 and 1832. The dimension of the paper is 10.25” by 1’ 3” with Polychrome woodblock print (Stonard, 2017).

Figure : Paris Street; Rainy Day Figure : The Great Wave


Both artworks portray the common theme related to the struggle of human beings with Mother Nature. Gustave painted his work in the city of Paris to show how human beings in the society can get along with the ecological environment, especially in Paris. The inability of the artist to concentrate on a single point of the environment captures the energy in the city of Paris even though the rains in the city of Paris were unstoppable. The Great Waves painting focuses on inhabitants of three boats sailing through rough water with waves (Shea, 2015). Struggling through the waves is a challenge as shown in the painting. At the background is Mount Fuji symbolizing pride and stability as the waves symbolize life’s challenges. The message of the art is that, once the problems are over, we will reach our destination where there is stability and clarity as seen in between the waves. Through their work, both artist employees similar painting skills about detail orientation of their pieces of art. Thus, the message is to enable human beings on how tiny things in our lives can reflect real efforts with hard work in day to day lives.

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Thesis Statement

The paintings were done in two different decades symbolizing the forces of nature and how no human being is above the act of Mother Nature (Nigro).


A suitable audience for the paintings for presentation are the people who love exploring in depth meaning of art; the element detains of portraits and how they relate to the theme of the painting. Additionally, it is suitable for individuals who can directly relate how the artwork is related to their personal experiences.

Impact of the Artifact

The effect of the artifact on the audience is in line with the thesis statement as it is essential for students studying humanities and also students studying anthropology and researcher willing to do a comprehensive study of paint elements and getting to get the motivations behind the works of art which have been kept for centuries.

Personal Experience

The artists in their paintings about the team focused on the struggle human beings face either individually or in a group. To achieve their desired goals, human struggle in life. Ocean water and the rain are used in the paintings by the artists as a medium of symbolism to show effort in our daily lives. Both paintings are directly related to my life on a daily basis. Relating to my first job, commuting daily without a persona car or company service vehicle, the day was rough and rainy. The painting reminds me that, I must go to work in any weather that day for life does not stop in a manner or obstacles we face. The Great Wave reminded me when I was barely 13 years old when our home area experienced an earthquake of intensity 7.7 with a felt intensity of Extreme(X) on the scale. From a distance, several story buildings collapsed burying people underneath the rubble. Everyone was scared as people had to shelter in temporary tents. The incident showed that no one could control forces of nature as they can strike anytime.


The twenty-first century experienced mass selling of produced goods as symbolized in The Great Wave as a promoter of trade. However, the painting acted as a mediator between the traditional Japanese tradition, local and global trading. Therefore, the painting gave me a broader perspective about knowledge in analyzing the painter’s thoughts through their work. Exploration of vital elements helped me thinking beyond the obvious about the real world society. For the past few years working in the office environment, many interns have been hired by our employer. They are always struggling to balance the knowledge they acquire from the books and the real world society events. Their fresh experiences out of college life make them struggles since they find it a challenge incorporating real issues related to accounting to theories they read at the time of their course in college. I understood the gap between book knowledge and work-related real problems when I realized that opportunities in the society are made of both ups and downs which builds us stronger. The light was shaded by the many mistakes made by interns on a daily basis in which at some point, could get irritated.

Similarities and Differences

Both artists utilized the weather in their work of art. Additionally, the most notable difference is the manner in which the weather is getting rough and aggressive to humans. Gustave’s painting shows that people in the streets are busy with their daily routines. Despite the stormy weather, to symbolize an ever in motion life. On the contrary, Hokusai symbolizes the hardship and struggle faced by a human on a different land for survival faced with extreme weather condition. Additionally, the settings of the paintings are different as one is set in the streets of Paris and the other near Mount Fuji.


In his painting Paris Street; Rainy Day, Gustave shows modern Paris, specifically Wide boulevards that were built recently with the boulevards lined with apartments. Additionally, the artist portrayed the inhabitants of the city who are the middle class. The middle class is symbolized by the fashionable dressed couple in the forefront of the painting. With close analysis of the elements in the art, the upper-class people can be identified in the artwork. The Great Wave as noted by the artist is a nickname derived from the original title, Under the Wave off Kanagawa. It is a place currently named as Yokohama in Japan. Today, the water body in the picture is called Tokyo Bay as in the picture the boats are sailing towards Mount Fuji.


For millions of years, a human has exited through the toughest and the happiest moments of their lives. Increased intellectual thinking has led to advancement in lifestyle in the world, starting with the Agrarian Revolution to the modes of Mechanization in the early Mesopotamia life. Consequently, technology has evolved with the advancement of sophisticated technological tools. Despite all these advancements, a scientist has not been able to tame Mother Nature as it continues to strike anytime.

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Nigro, P. (n.d.). Off Kanagawa: Isolation, Identity, and Immortality in Hokusai’s Great Wave. Retrieved from

Rahn, K. (2015, May 22). Fun Facts: Paris Street; Rainy Day. Retrieved from

Shea, A. (2015, April 3). Hokusai’s 19th Century ‘Great Wave,’ So Iconic It’s An Emoji, Comes Home To The MFA. Retrieved from

Stonard, J.-P. (2017, May 19). Hokusai: the great wave that swept the world. Retrieved from

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