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Korean J Art Hist > Volume 300; 2018 > Article
Korean Journal of Art History 2018;300:45-73.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.31065/ahak.300.300.201812.002    Published online December 31, 2018.
조선후기 花卉·蔬果圖: 심사정과 강세황을 중심으로
유 순 영
문화재청 문화재감정위원
Paintings of Flower, Vegetable, and Fruit from the Late Joseon Period: Focusing on Sim Sajeong and Gang Sehwang
Soon young Yoo
Connoisseur of Cultural Heritage, Cultural Heritage Administration
Received: 12 September 2018   • Revised: 18 September 2018   • Accepted: 19 October 2018
This essay explores new aspects of paintings of flower, vegetable, and fruit that Sim Sajeong (1707~1769), Gang Sehwang (1713~1791), and their artistic circle escalated into one of the major pictorial genres in the late Joseon dynasty. Falling into a conventional category Bird-and-Flower painting, this branch of painting has hitherto been studied only in the context of an individual artist’s development without receiving a proper recognition as a sign of a new pictorial trend of the period. The rise of the novel genre and its characteristics will shed a new light on the eighteenthcentury painting. The late Joseon period witnessed growing interests in pragmatic horticultural knowledge beyond a tradition of associating plants with idealistic virtues or subjective sentiments. Also a cultural phenomenon of appreciating and favoring flowers and trees has developed into extreme aestheticism and an extravagant pastime. Gardening books and related materials from the Ming and Qing dynasties were widely read, including painting manuals that inspired Kim Ingwan’s (act. fl. early 18th century) Landscape, Fish and Crab, Flower and Insects. The artistic currents, which Sim and Gang channeled into new heights, feature an increase of a single plant motif, the growth of paintings combining flowers and garden rocks, and the emergence of new subject-matters (e.g. begonias, rose mallows, lilies, hydrangeas, red plum blossoms, and narcissi). In addition, new pictorial modes settled, the kernels of which lie in the Idealistic inkmonochrome method or color-washed boneless manner. As such it made solid its status as a subject of privileged scholar-artist paintings. Although Sim and Gang display pictorial modes and subjects in common, their styles differ according to their social standings (Sim as a semi-professional literati painter, while Gang an amateur scholar painter). Sim sought rich and animated brushworks, a sophisticated composition inviting birds and worms against a garden background, and the picturesque. On the contrary Gang liked to employ somewhat monotonous ink tonalities, calligraphic strokes, concise structures, and blandness. Sim’s combined application of light-color washes and vivid paints contrasts with Gang’s nearly exclusive use of limpid color washes. Whereas Sim had an eclectic tendency to derive visual constituents from various painting manuals, Gang deliberately pursued the flatness of the prints. Those who shared subjects, modes, and styles with Sim and Gang are Choe Buk (1712~ca. 1786), Jeong Chungyeop (1725~after 1800), Ryu Sin (1748~1790), Jang Siheung (act. late 18th century), Kim Deokhyeong (act. late 18th~early 19th century), and Yi Bang-un (1761~after 1815). Their individual styles and brushworks based on sketching from life contributed not only to the proliferation of paintings of flower, vegetable, and fruit but also to the enrichment of late Joseon art world.
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