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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Portrait Paintings in the Joseon Dynasty: With a Focus on Their Style of Expression and Pursuit of Realism

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2005, v.45 no.2, pp.107-150

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Abstract

Joseon society witnessed the continuous production of portraits with excellent artistic value. During this era of portrait paintings, the baechae, a technique of painting colors from the back of the canvas, was employed to paint the portraits. This technique is effective in pre- venting colors from becoming spotted and blotted when painting from the front. This technique can also prevent colors from fading and can effectively render skin colors. Joseon portrait artists placed an emphasis on the truthfulness(jinsilseong) in describing the object. As the concept of chosang (portrait) implied the painting of not only the appearance of the sit- tersmost of them were scholar-officialsbut the sitters mind and spirit, it was interchangeable with the concept of transmitting the spirit (jeonsin). Furthermore, Joseon portrait paintings were so realistic as to outspokenly reveal even the weak points that the sitters did not want displayed, such as spots or pockmarks and vitiligo.

keywords
portrait baechae baeseon realism camera obscura scholar-official transmitting the spirit (jeonsin)

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