Mountains and Rivers without End


Mountains and Rivers without End


Korean landscape paintings show a pure and simple style that escape from seriousness or solemnity as the artists do not try to fill in the margins but creatively utilize them by leaving them as they are.


This painting, which is 8.6 meters long, is the largest existing masterpiece from the later Joseon period. Regarding the stamps on its front and back, it is believed that the painting was once the possession of Kim Jeong-hui, and considering its brush style, it appears to be the work of Yi In-mun in his later years. It is difficult to define in which season this painting was drawn, but it seems to have been the best season for humans to have lived. Titled Mountains and Rivers without End, the painting depicts the rivers and mountains that delineate Korea’s national territory. The fluctuating features of nature and peaceful scenes of various lives are elaborately depicted in the background of the painting. These are the activities of the people living peacefully in the land, among them, people farming, lifting loads up the cliff, and traveling, among others.


In terms of the structure and treatment of the painting’s spaces, scenography and various widths are appropriately used; in terms of the technology, various techniques are properly and diversely utilized to ensure that viewers fully enjoy this work. The painting style of Kim Hong-do was influenced by interesting, odd-shaped rocks and cliffs, and Jeong Seon’s individual painting style can be seen in his depiction of mountains. However, this painting generally reveals the unique painting style of Yi In-mun. Much of the screen is colored with light yellow and light green, and the green of the evergreen pine tree and the red of the dead leaves create a harmony. This is a high-quality painting that represents the high standards of Joseon’s landscape paintings.



Mountains and Rivers without End

Period/Date: Joseon . 18th century,

Dimensions: 43.8x856.0 cm

Artist: Yi In-Mun (1745 - after 1824)

Accession no. Deoksu 927



An excerpt from NMK’s magazine: National Museum of Korea vol.1, NMK, 2006

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