초록 close

In the 19th century, as demand for calligraphy and painting works spread to the jungin middle class, decorative paintings with auspicious meanings became widely popular. The literati-painter Hong Seseop (1832~1884), too, began producing water bird paintings, but perfected his own unprecedented style within the genre by determining the order of his canvases by painting bird habitats consistent with the seasons and searching for new means of formal expression through traditional painting styles and observation of birds. In the process of comparatively analyzing Choi’s surviving works, however, this study was able to establish that his unique style of water bird paintings was perfected not instantaneously, but the product of learning expressive techniques from traditional water bird paintings and ongoing efforts to find new forms by observing birds. Hong Seseop’s water bird paintings show various natural environments, in which a female-male bird couple enjoys watching plum blossom, playing in the water, courting or moving habitat, against a seasonal background. Though such pictures constitute projections of happy human married life, Hong himself had a somewhat rocky married life, separating from his first wife and failing to produce children after remarrying. He can therefore be seen to have expressed his desire for happy married life through his water bird paintings ― it may be this auspicious meaning that created considerable demand for his works among the ruling classes at the time. Nam Gyewoo (1811~1890), another literati-painter active at the same time as Hong Seseop, perfected his own style of butterfly painting (胡蝶圖) by approaching common butterfly paintings with a realist creative stance to produce a style that combined realism and decorativeness. I therefore believe that Hong should not be placed in the category of the Unique Style school, along with Kim Sucheol. Hong’s water bird paintings, together with Nam’s butterfly paintings, perfected in the 19th century art world an unprecedented painting style that possessed the refined qualities associated with scholars by approaching popular paintings with realist forms, through observation. They can therefore be said to have suggested a future direction for scholar paintings in the modern era. In other words, literati-painters Hong Seseop and Nam Gyewoo deserve recognition for taking popular paintings in the art world at the time and perfecting a painting style that could be enjoyed by anyone, from the highest to the lowest social class.