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The 조선 era (1392-1910) produced Korea’s finest painters. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous traditional Korean paintings and painters.
This painting is called 인왕제색도 (仁王霽色圖) or “After the rain at Mt. Inwang”. The painter’s name is 정선. His paintings focus on capturing the majesty of the natural landscape, and are characterized by bold brushstrokes. 정선‘s style of painting is a departure from traditional styles of Chinese paintings. As a result, he is considered one of the few “original” artists among Korean painters.
This painting is called 서당 (書堂) or private elementary school in town. The artist who painted this is called 김홍도. The subject matter for his paintings are characterized by scenes from the daily lives of lower class citizens. As a result, some of 김홍도‘s paintings are treasured much more for the factual pictorials they provide about 조선 Korea, than for the artistic value of the paintings.
This painting is called 주사거배 (酒肆擧盃) and was painted by 신윤복. 신윤복 is considered a rogue painter for the subject matter that characterized his paintings. In fact, he was kicked out of the royal painting school for drawing scenes with prostitutes. Some of his paintings are considered to have an erotic edge to them, and was considered controversial in 조선 times.
This painting is called 장승업의 군마도 (群馬圖) or “picture of a herd of horses”. It’s by the painter 장승업. The genre of 장승업‘s paintings are varied. Some are on animals, some on nature, while others on daily life. Aside from his paintings, 장승업‘s own life was remarkable in and of itself. In short, he was a poor orphan who grew up to become a royal officer, in addition to being a world class painter.