Kim Hong Do’s Painting vs. Shin Yoon Bok’s Painting – Essay Example

Kim Hong Do’s Painting vs. Shin Yoon Bok’s Painting – Essay Example

Kim Hong-do and Shin Yoon-bok are two influential Korean painters that have long been an integral part of Asian art history. Both painters created the majority of their work during the Joseon period, a time when a large portion of Korea was under the rule of several kings and prime ministers and richly increasing in culture and trade. Though both trained as royal painters, only Kim Hong-do went on to produce art for the royal court; Shin Yoon-bok’s life is shrouded in much more mystery. Comparing the artwork produced by these two painters can tell much about their individual priorities in painting, as well as general Korean artwork at the time.

Kim Hong-do is perhaps the most famous painter of this era. The government chose this artist as a ‘Do-Hwa-Soe,’ also called a ‘king’s painter.’ This profession allowed Kim Hong-do unlimited access to painting material, and also let him paint portraits of the king and other members of the royal court. Despite having access to this higher class, much of Kim Hong-do’s work revolved around everyday scenes. Some of his famous paintings include children attending school, men fishing and workers at a forge. He is also known for depicting landscapes along with his subjects.

Shin Yoon-bok did not have as glorified a life as Kim Hong-do, though he was also one of the top painters of the day. He originally applied for the same kind of royal painter position that Kim Hong-do held, he was initially denied. Eventually, he was able to join the king’s court, where he shook the foundations by producing rebellious works. Shin Yoon-bok’s paintings were much more provocative than Kim Hong-do’s, enough to have him eventually expelled from court. The painter was a protestor against the social and religious standards of the time, striving to reveal the ‘shameful’ realities of everyday life – including sexual promiscuity.

The main differences between Kim Hong-do’s work and Shin Yoon-bok’s are their subjects, and the meaning behind their paintings. Kim Hong-do chose to portray everyday scenes that imitated an ideal, rustic life and natural beauty. Shin Yoon-bok, on the other hand, portrayed more provocative images of women’s beauty, political corruption and sexual encounters. While Kim Hong-do supported the royal court and Confucian ideals of the time, Shin Yoon-bok did not. A huge difference between the two’s works is the intensely erotic influence on many of Shin Yoon-bok’s paintings, which Kim Hong-do did not support. The two Korean artists may have lived during the same age, but their artwork was vastly different.

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