Famous Korean Art – The theme of this issue’s quarter is “Times when Rare Experiences Become Art.” During the Joseon Dynasty, boating was not an everyday occurrence in the Danyang region. This article compares the differences and similarities of paintings created by people who enjoyed the natural wonders there.
Curiosity is a part of everyday life, but few can compete with the powerful experience of traveling to a new place. The traveler naturally wants to enhance the memory by writing about it or making a picture, but the value of evidence to each individual is highly subjective. It is not uncommon for different viewers to respond with different emotions to the same show. That’s why Joseon artists went to famous scenic spots that differed in the way they depicted the scenes they saw on their travels.
Famous Korean Art
At the end of the Joseon Dynasty, Mount Geumgangsan was considered the most beautiful place on the Korean peninsula, with Danyang in second place. Danyang is popular as a sightseeing spot for its natural beauty, including rock formations and a large river, and is easily accessible only three or four days by boat from the capital, Hanyang (present-day Seoul). In a scenic spot in Danyang, Dodamsambang 島潭三峯 (Three Peaks of Dodam) and Oksunbang 玉筍峯 (Jade Bamboo Peak) are oddly shaped rocks protruding from the river. Therefore they are best viewed inside a boat, and this was the case during the Joseon period.
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Artists’ impressions from this unique boat trip are displayed in the form of paintings. Danguseungyudo丹丘勝遊圖 , or The Wonderful Journey to Dangu was created in 1749 by master painter Cho Buk 1712–c.1786, who, together with Yi Gwangsa in 1705–1777, was one of the most famous Joseon painters of the 18th century. Fig.2 in travel. The artist painted the work from the side of the scenic Hanbyeongnu Pavilion while overlooking Dodamsambang and the front of the boat facing west, providing an accurate representation of the three peaks at the center of the area. The boat in the picture is shown carrying the viewer in front of three different rocks, representing fond memories of the journey. On the other hand, the stones around the border of the painting are not visible in the original place. The painting gives tourists the feeling of seeing Dodamsambang in a circle of large stones. Perhaps the artist was trying to show Seongmun 石門 (Stone Gate), another famous site in the area Fig.4. Seongmun is a natural rock where the river can be seen, but only from the Dodamsambang side. Actually, Dodamsambang is not visible from the front, as this picture from Seongmun shows.
Joseon Dynasty, 1749 / Cho Book 1712–c.1786 / Ink and light color on paper / 24.5 × 70.5 cm / Private collection
Another diagram of the same general situation also looks at the spatial relationship between Dodamsambang and Seongmun Fig.3. Dodanjeolgyeongdo 島潭絕景圖, or Beautiful Place of Dodam by literary painter Yun Deokhui 1685-1776 portrays the three stones as small and narrow, while appearing in the lower left corner of Seongmun’s painting. It seems that Yun did not care about accuracy and wanted to combine the two fascinating sights he visited.
Kim Hong Do, Closing The Cycle With The Beginning
Joseon Dynasty, before 1763 / 1685-1776 by Yun Deokhui / Ink on silk / 21.8 × 17.1 cm / Private collection
On the other hand, Kim Hongdo 1745–c.1806, one of the greatest painters of the 18th century during the Joseon Dynasty, produced his own Dodamsambang painting in 1796. The stone structure is close to reality in terms of its overall appearance and texture Fig.5. Unlike other works, the peaks and mountains in the background are embellished with a border, which makes the river water appear to be moving swiftly.
Joseon Dynasty, 1796 / 1745–c.1806 by Kim Hongdo / Ink and pastel on paper / 26.5 × 31.5 cm / Private collection / No.782
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Oksanbong 玉筍峯圖 is one of the artist’s finest works of painting on a plate, and is composed of skillful brushwork, spatial arrangement and pictorial composition. Kim did not paint an exact representation of Oksunbong but instead created an imaginary Oksunbong. Oksunbong is a single, triangular rock formation in Fig.6, but in the picture, the right side is missing and the two rocks on the left are separated by a large mass. In the process, the artist emphasized the concept of standing and showed the image of a bamboo shoot, which gave it its name. Kim Hongdo freely changed the structure of the monument according to his artistic vision and brought out the main points he wanted to emphasize.
In another Oksunbong painting, the artist Yun Jaehong 1764–c.1844 not only fixed the monumental shape but reinterpreted it with his own personal feelings. Yun was a literate artist who served in various local government positions in Cheongpungbu 淸風府, a district near Oksanbang. At the age of 80, he produced a very low-key painting of Oksanbong, full of his life experiences and emotions Fig.8.
Joseon Dynasty, 1844 / 1764–c.1844 by Yun Jaehong / Ink on paper / 58.5 × 31.6 cm / Private collection
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Visiting the site regularly, Yun has a special focus on Oksanbong and uses his own artistic taste and refined look to create the perfect image. Oksunbong is presented as three columns, with exaggerated height to give it a commanding presence. The artist also wrote a caption about the painting to explain his feelings about the incident:
On bright sunny days, when the wind is calm, boats go up the river from Hanbyeongnu Pavilion to Oksanbong, sure to return with excitement. A man named Gwan Baekduk was skilled at playing the jade flute and played like a powerful being. All the people on board were special students with refined tastes.
Flute player Gwon Baekdeuk in left column represents Fig.8. This is Yun Jaehang’s way of making Oksanbang a place for passers-by. Acquaintances on board are shown drinking and enjoying music, adequately expressing the special charm of a place where people appreciate nature.
The Same Travel Experience Featured In Different Paintings
Different artists saw the objects in Danyang, each creating a different image of the scene. With these works, each artist has raised the rare experience of this unique region to create a great art show. A new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum explores the development of modern art in Korea, driven by a combination of artists and revisionist, external influences that came to address it. Covering the years 1897 to 1965, the exhibition spans the period of European-influenced Japanese art during the Korean Empire (1897-1910) and the colonial period (1910-45), exploring the American influences experimented with during and after the Korean period. war (1950-53), and saw the first exhibition of contemporary art in the county.
It explores the influences, connections, and methods these artists used to change thinking in modern art during a time of profound change in art in Korea. Exhibition curator Dr. Virginia Moon explained the main theme of the exhibition, ‘This project is a rare opportunity to introduce the public to contemporary Korean art by looking at the influences that led to its development. It is the most popular contemporary art exhibition in Korea, bringing together all the media introduced to the country at this time. These paintings, never before shown outside of Korea, show how Korean art breaks the traditional mold to introduce the new and the borrowed amid the difficult challenges facing the country at this time.
The exhibition of modern Korean art is divided into five sections to explore the early 20th century, when the country developed a new nationhood in response to Japan’s imperialist aims and attempts to eradicate it, as Korea transitioned into the unmistakable modern era. Its language and culture. In the art world, Western influences introduced by Japan ushered in an era of interpretation and experimentation and questioning of the future of Korean art. However, how modern art developed in Korea was due to external influences and the tragic events of the Japanese colonial period (1910-45) and the Korean War (1950-53). Created during a time of great upheaval, these works show the acceptance of new ideas and a determined will to persevere.
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The first part of the show is called Modern Encounter. Here, paintings and photographs explore Korea’s encounter with the world outside and the country’s skeptical but growing realization that it must modernize. In 1897, the last two kings of the Joseon Dynasty made Korea a kingdom and brought photographers from Japan to Korea to mark the first steps in modernization.
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