Silk Fabric - Silk
Kim Hong-do(金弘道, 1745-after 1806), Yi Myeong-gi(李命基)
Culture / Art - Letter & Paintings - Paintings - painting
218.0x89.0cm(Hanging scroll painting), 148.8x72.4cm(Image)
- Accession Number
Korea has a long tradition of the creation of portraits of notable people as a way to honor their lives and achievements. According to records, the practice of painting portraits in Korea began during the Three Kingdoms period (BCE 57 – 668 CE), and it had been become firmly rooted by the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). However, most of the Korean portraits that survive today are from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Traditionally, Korean portrait painters paid careful attention to even the tiniest details, right down to a single strand of hair. They strove to capture the sitter’s inner state, personality, and intellect, as well as the outer appearance. Subjects of Korean portraiture include not only kings, high-ranking government officials, and Neo-Confucian intellectuals, but also Buddhist monks and women. Standing portraits like this one are quite rare in Korea. The famous scholar Seo Jik-su (1735-?) is shown here garbed in a long overcoat and a high hat known as a “dongpoguan,” named after the Northern Song scholar Su Dongpo (“Su Shi”). The inscription, written by Seo, states that the court painter Yi Myeong-gi painted the face, while Kim Hong-do completed the rest of the figure. To achieve a three-dimensional effect for Seo’s face, Yi utilized a shading technique which involved a repetition of fine brush strokes. A different shading technique was used to depict the heavy folds in Seo’s garment, which was characteristic of portraiture from the latter half of the 18th century. The strong contrast between the bright white socks and the black hat and band around Seo’s chest creates a lasting impression on the viewer.