The Korean painting, an original painting style of the Korean nation with a long history, is a genre of Oriental painting. It has not only general characteristics of Oriental painting but also excellent qualities of the peculiar painting style of the nation that has long been developed. With clear, concise yet delicate art it carries fine qualities as a powerful, beautiful and noble form.
The basis of the Korean painting is the principle of implication and concentration. It is an excellent principle of formative art which simplifies the form, colour and light and darkness to suit the aesthetic sense of the Korean people and highlights the point of a work while showing the qualitative features of an object smartly. The principle is invariably applied to the method of selecting the composition and form of a picture, the method of using means of depiction and expression such as line, colour and light and darkness, and the expression of unique brushwork. In this way it ensures the clearness, conciseness and delicacy of the picture.
The Korean painting has various techniques. According to the degree of colouring and variety of painting materials it is classified into deep-coloured one, light-coloured one, Indian-ink one and picture in ink and wash. According to objects of depiction it is divided into genre painting, landscape, portrait and historical painting. In the past it was subdivided into painting of grass and insects, painting of wild animals and painting of peasants’ life. According to the frame of work it is divided into scroll, widehanging roll, folding screen and framed picture.
The Korean painting has a long history of development along with the nation’s time-honoured history and left a lot of valuable legacies. Mural paintings in the tombs of Koguryo (277 BC–AD 668) are well known to the world as the cream of fine art of Korea in the early Middle Ages, and the paintings by Tam Jing (579–631) and Solgo (8th century) give a good glimpse of the development of the Korean painting during the period of Three Kingdoms and its long history. Later, it further developed and got enriched through the period of Koryo (918– 1392) and the feudal Jonson dynasty, attaining distinct qualities of original style.
Now the Korean painting has reached a higher stage of development. Thanks to the wise guidance of the Workers’ Party of Korea it has made a radical change in its content and form, and is in its heyday as the main form of the national fine arts of socialist Korea.
Pak Myong Il