Reference Entry

Kwŏn Ton-in

Kim Kumja Paik

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T048415

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[cha Kyŏnghui; ho Yijae, Kwaji Ch’odang Noin, Urang, Uyŏm, Ponsang Ch’onjang]

(b Andong, North Kyŏngsang Province, 1783; d Yŏnsan, South Chúngch’ŏng Province, 1859).

Korean scholar–painter and calligrapher. He began his government career when he passed the civil service examination in 1812. He was chosen as ambassador to the Chinese court in 1836, and in 1845 he was made chief minister. However, in 1851, he became embroiled in a controversy over the transfer of the remains of the late King Hŏnjong (reg 1834–49) to a new royal ancestral temple and was banished to Nangch’ŏn, Kangwŏn Province. In 1859 he was moved to Yŏnsan, where he died.

Kwŏn Ton-in excelled in calligraphy and painting. His calligraphy is said to have had antique and robust qualities and to have been superior to that of his famous contemporary Sin Wi. In painting Kwŏn was indebted to his close friend Kim Chŏng-hŭi. Kwŏn’s Cold Winter (Seoul, N. Mus.) is reminiscent of the more famous painting of the same title by Kim Chŏng-hŭi. In his composition Kwŏn used a humble open pavilion, strange rocks and the Three Friends of Winter—pine, bamboo, and prunus, while Kim used a long thatched house with pine and cypress trees. Although it is clear that both works symbolize a scholar’s enduring courage and unchanging principles even in adverse times, by including a prunus tree Kwŏn seemed to indicate his sense of hope. Kwŏn’s brushlines and dots are loose and wet, quite different from Kim’s dry brush and austere manner....

Reference Entry.  289 words. 

Subjects: Painting ; Book Arts and Illustration ; 19th-Century Art ; East Asian Art

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