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Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
747-18, Hannam-dong,
Seoul, Korea 140-893
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The Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty
Date: 13 Oct 2011 - 29 Jan 2012

Hwawon were a collection of court painters, affiliated with the Dohwaseo (Bureau of Painting) and also produced excellent pieces in relation with many private painters and patrons. They were responsible for the production of paintings for the state and also privately received commissions from literati and other patrons. The Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty presents not only the works of acclaimed master painters but also the paintings of various genres that highlight the comprehensive activities of hwawon. This exhibition has two parts. The first part, “The Court Painter’s Brush: Forming Authority”, exhibits the official and public activities of hwawon. And the second part, “The Court Painter’s brush: Painting Joseon”, presents the artistic contributions and achievements of hwawon in the history of Joseon.

Section 1 - The Court Painter's Brush : Forming Royal Authority
Hwawon were chosen based on their ability and talent, as they had to pass a chwijae examination. According to Gyeongguk Daejeon (Great Code of Administration), it is believed that the basic framework of hwawon system was established in early Joseon. Hwawon were widely responsible for the official and public activities. In addition to create documentary paintings they produced decorative paintings, portraits, maps, images of printed matter, and paintings on ceramics. The exhibition place of Black Box displays court paintings, official and public activities of hwawon and this theme is divided into three parts: “Royal Procession”, “ Royal Ceremonial and Decorative Paintings”, and “Royal Official and Documentary Paintings”. These parts are comprised of works effectively portray the activities at the royal household and palaces.

Section 2 - The Court Painter's Brush : Painting Joseon
Hwawon not only were engaged in a court project, also created many non-official paintings accepting private commissions from wealthy families and individuals. The court painters who received praised for their renowned talent were in high demand. Hwawon contributed to the formation of new artistic trends in meeting their patron’s desires and creating works reflecting contemporary subjects and popular styles. In particular, their influence in creating new trend for vivid portrayals of quotidian activities in late 18th century genre painting was significant. The Ground Gallery presents various private activities of hwawon: representative hwawon in “Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty”, genre paintings in “Genre and Pigment Paintings”, and achievement of Joseon dynasty painters in “Renowned Joseon Court Painters”.

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