Silk Fabric - Silk
Culture / Art - Letter & Paintings - Paintings - painting
188.0x79.0cm(Hanging scroll painting), 89.7x67.6cm(Image)
National Treasure 239
- Accession Number
This is considered one of the best portraits of Song Si-yeol (宋時烈, 1607-1689), a revered scholar, politician, and Neo-Confucian thinker who dominated the scholarship and philosophy of the late Joseon Dynasty. He is shown wearing a simui (深衣, scholar’s robe) and bokgeon (幅巾, black hat with rear flap). The overall depiction is quite realistic, particularly in the wrinkles and beard, which are captured with commendable subtlety. Song’s domineering scholarly bearing is effectively represented through solid brushstrokes that delineate the contours, as well as the simple lines of the creases in his robe. The lack of shading in the face and clothing is a feature of 17th century portraiture. Above Song’s head is written in clerical script an ode by King Jeongjo (r. 1776-1800) in 1778. To the right of the king’s verse, Song Si-yeol appended his own comments in regular script when he was 45. Judging from King Jeongjo’s ode, the work can be dated to the late 18th century, but it still maintains features typical of 17th century literati portraiture. Thus, some experts have proposed that this work is a faithful copy of an earlier original.