Kim Hong-do(金弘道, 1745-after 1806)
Culture / Art - Letter & Paintings - Paintings - painting
- Accession Number
Bongwan 6504 - 24
Kim Hong-do (金弘道) is probably the most celebrated painter of the Joseon Dynasty, best known for his genre paintings of everyday life. Kim constantly observed the various activities of regular people and then depicted them in creative scenes infused with his own candor and humor. In this energetic scene, a boy dances exuberantly to the rhythm of Samhyeonyukgak music. “Samhyeonyukgak” is a Korean traditional style of music played by a sextet of musicians: two pipes, a large transverse bamboo flute, a Korean fiddle, an hourglass-shaped waisted drum, and a hand drum. The boy’s energy is conveyed through the streaming strands of his clothing and his contorted arm gestures. In particular, the boy’s long sleeves, fluttering sash, and the creases in his clothes are vigorously painted with daring brushstrokes, to dynamically convey the exhilaration of his dancing. Most notably, the raised toe of the boy perfectly captures a distinctive movement in traditional Korean dance. The boy is clearly enjoying himself, and so are the musicians. Kim utilizes a somewhat surprising composition here, with the center of the painting left empty. The musicians are arranged in a stable reverse-shape, with the boy is placed at a diagonal from the lower end of the C-shape. Thus, the composition yields a firm overall balance, as well as enhanced spatial depth. It is believed that Kim Hong-do painted his Album of Genre Paintings when he was in his 40s. The album consists of 25 paintings depicting scenes from the daily lives of Joseon peasants, including Village School, Plowing, Wrestling, Roof Tiling, Blacksmith’s Workshop, Tavern, At the Well, and Rice Threshing.