Kim Hong-do, who famously produced numerous artworks under the nickname Danwon, was one of the most celebrated painters during the late Joseon Dynasty. Thanks to his brilliant painting skills, he became a member of the Dohwaseo, an administrative office for the field of art during the Joseon Dynasty, on the recommendation of renowned painter Gang Se-hwang. He was also commissioned to create a portrait for King Jeongjo, who reigned during the Joseon Dynasty from 1776 to 1800, at an early age. In addition, he received significant support from ordinary people, as he largely focused on depicting their everyday lives through art. As a result, many art experts have praised his paintings for giving viewers an opportunity to gain some insight into life during the late Joseon Dynasty. Among the countless artworks he created, a painting titled Ssireum earned him the most popularity. The painting measures 26.9 cm by 22.2 cm and depicts a scene in which two people are partaking in a ssireum match, or Korean traditional wrestling, in front of many people as its title entails. With the painting also featuring excited spectators, we can learn how widely ssireum was enjoyed by many ordinary people back then. This painting is part of the Album of Genre Paintings, which was designated as National Treasure No. 527. Those who are interested in appreciating the painting in person can do so by visiting the National Museum of Korea in Seoul.
Yejin Hwang Staff Reporter
1. Who is Kim Hong-do?
2. What did Kim achieve thanks to his brilliant painting skills?
3. What does Ssireum depict?
1. How do you think about the painting?
2. Do you know any other paintings drawn by Kim?
3. If you were Kim who was commissioned to create a portrait for King Jeongjo, how would you have felt?
4. Are you interested in appreciating the painting in person?