World Ch. Schedule : WED 09:05 KST
* Date : 2015-09-23
Joseon Artists - Geniuses Beyond Time
▶ Joseon women who faced gender discrimination
At the onset of the Joseon era, significant social changes took place. Joseon adopted Confucianism from China and became a male-oriented, patriarchal society, in which women's activities were restricted not only in society, but also in culture and art, while their role as homemakers was emphasized even more.
Some of the Joseon women still managed to display their artistic talents despite the repression. One of them was Shin Saimdang from the scenic city of Gangneung, Gangwon-do Province. As a child, she liked to spend time observing flowers and insects in her garden, and drawing them. Her artistic genre called "chochungdo," meaning "grass and insects," represents her love for petty objects, which in turn represents Korean personality.
Another famous female artist from the Joseon period was Heo Nanseolheon, who at age 7 surprised everyone by writing a perfect poem. But her happy childhood ended when she got married. After the return of her brother to his hometown, the death of her both children and the demise of her family, her life turned into a nightmare. She found solace in poetry and drawing. Before her death at the age of 27 she asked that all her works be burned.
▶Genre paintings about social changes
King Jeongjo of the late Joseon period was highly lauded as a wise king. He implemented diverse policies to enrich the lives of grassroots people. Always being interested in the lives of ordinary people, he asked one of his court painters to draw them.
Through his elaborate depiction of people's lives, King Jeongjo was able to improve the lives of the public. Kim Hong-do was more than an artist; he was a journalist who recorded the lives of people in the Joseon era.
Another Joseon painter who created excellent genre paintings and was compared with Kin Hong-do was artist Shin Yun-bok. He mostly drew women in revealing clothes using bold colors and techniques. Shin Yun-bok harshly criticized their immorality by portraying them side by side with "gisaeng," or court entertainers.
Joseon artists who portrayed their era created their unique worlds of art by depicting the lives of people from their own perspectives. Their works continue to inspire modern-day artists who breathe a new life into their works by blending the past with the present.