museum news

Exhibit Renewal in Painting Gallery
Date 2012-02-03 Hit 1292

Welcoming the Year of the Dragon

with a Whole-new Selection of Joseon-era Paintings


Location : Painting gallery in the Calligraphy and Painting section (3rd Floor)


Date          : 01-31-2012 ~ 05-27-2012


○ Exhibits: 93 works including Ullyongdo (Dragon and Clouds) by Seok Gyeong

 To make a fresh start for the New Year, the National Museum of Korea (Director Kim Young-na) has replaced all 93 exhibits in the Painting gallery of its Calligraphy and Painting section with new ones. The Painting gallery consists of 4 parts of Figure Painting, Landscape Painting, Bird, Flower and Animal Painting, and Royal Court Painting. The newly-arrayed Painting gallery now awaits visitors with masterpieces of early to late Joseon Dynasty.


On display in the Figure Painting part are some of the greatest mythological and historical paintings of Joseon of the likes of Seowonajipdo (Elegant Gathering in the Western Garden) by Kim Hong-do (1745-after 1806) and Jindantaryeodo (Chen Tuan Falls Off His Donkey) by Yun Du-seo (1668-1715). Jindantaryeodo depicts a historical anecdote of China in which Chen Tuan, delighted by the news of Zhao Kuangyin becoming crowned Taizu of the Song, is said to have fallen off his donkey. The poem composed by King Sukjong (r. 1674-1720), upon seeing the painting, written along its upper left edge adds to the interest of this work.


The new set of exhibits will be available for viewing in the Landscape Painting part, from February 7 (Tue). Such crowning works of early Joseon as Sosangpalgyeongdo (Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang Rivers) attributed to An Gyeon and Sansudo (Landscape), a work created under the latter artist’s influence, attributed to Yang Paeng-Son (1488-1545) will be on display, alongside works by various late-Joseon artists including Gyeomjae Jeong Seon (1676-1759) and Neunghogwan Lee In-sang (1710-1760).


In the Bird, Flower and Animal Painting section, visitors will see among others Eohaedo, the eight-panel fish-and-crab painting by Jang Han-jong (1768-1815). Jang Han-jong was a court painter who was considered a master in the fish-and-crab genre in his time. Also noteworthy is the eight-panel Yeongmodo (Bird-and-Animal) by Hong Se-seop (1832-1884), an artist best known for his Yuapdo (Swimming Ducks). This complete series of eight ink works will provide visitors with a rare and appreciable opportunity of witnessing the bird-and-animal genre at its best.


The highlight of the newly-arranged Royal Court Painting part is no doubt Jinhado. This folding screen painting commemorates a royal ceremony held in 1783, in which King Jeongjo bestowed posthumous titles on his late parents, Crown Prince Jangheon and Lady Hong. Courtiers shown standing in multiple rows on either side of the king, and the brilliant coloring and lavish use of gold powder make this painting at the same time solemn and sumptuous, as befits a court event.


A selection of Joseon paintings of the dragon is also put on display in this year of the dragon. The dragon was considered, in traditional times, a creature with supernatural powers, capable of warding off evil spirits and calamities. Ullyongdo (Dragon and Clouds) by Seok Gyeong depicts a dragon in a dynamic posture, as he is just emerging from clouds while holding a bead with its front paws. Meanwhile, the other Ullyongdo by an unknown artist, a gigantic painting, 2m by 2m, is presumed to have been hung at the gate of a palace or a government building at the beginning of a new year to keep away evil spirits and misfortunes.


The National Museum of Korea hopes that the new selection of exhibits in the Painting gallery will offer its visitors an opportunity to yet better appreciate the rich beauty of Joseon paintings.



Ullyongdo (Dragon and Clouds)

Seok Gyeong, mid-15th – early 16th century, light color on paper, 24.6×19.6cm



Ullyongdo (Dragon and Clouds)

Unknown artist, Joseon, color on paper, 2×2m




1783, color on silk, 153.0×462.4cm




Yuapdo (Swimming Ducks)

Hong Se-seop, 19th century, 119.7×47.9cm


The complete set of eight panels of Yeongmodo(Bird-and-Animal) by Hong Se-seop has been put on display. Yuapdo, arguably the most impressive one of them, is a wonderfully fresh and limpid painting, remarkable for the masterly control of transition of light and shade. The choice of depicting a pair of ducks floating in a wavy river from the bird’s eye view is also original. The waves created on the surface of water, as the ducks skims across it are rendered very naturally in light ink.