Snowscape with Figures

Snowscape with Figures

한림제설도 (寒林霽雪圖)

1584

Kim Si

(Korean, 1524-1593)

Hanging scroll, ink on silk

Painting only: 53 x 67.3 cm (20 7/8 x 26 1/2 in.); Overall: 148.6 x 90.2 cm (58 1/2 x 35 1/2 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1987.187

Description

This scroll is a rare surviving example of early Joseon-period painting. The names of the painter, Kim Si, the patron, the date, and title of the painting are all inscribed. Kim Si was a member of the literati-high ranking or aristocratic men who eschewed court life to focus on literary and artistic pursuits. This decision was often made in response to the strife of politics at court, and Kim Si was no exception. His father, Kim Anro (1481-1537), was at one time the highest ranking court official in Korea, but was executed after years of political struggles. Kim Si pulled away from the court and spent his life doing calligraphy, painting, and reading. This image of a solitary scholar in his studio surrounded by trees and snow-covered mountains is reflective of the literati desire for a life devoted to art and poetry. In the painting, a scholar watches a visitor approaching by boat, while travelers depart from his studio on foot by the back gate.

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