Landscape Painter Ri In Mun

Ri In Mun (1745-1821) was a painter in the period of feudal Joson dynasty.

Born into a poor family, he was so good at drawing that he became a painter of Tohwaso (a government office in charge of drawing) and held an official position there.

He conducted creative activities under the influence of the ideas of the Silhak (Realistic) School, and painters Kim Hong Do and Sin Yun Bok. In the course of this, he broke himself of the sycophantic and imitative tendency and became a landscape painter representative of the late 18th century to the early 19th century by drawing realistic landscape pictures.

He always found the theme of pictures in the mountains and rivers of the country and depicted them well in close connection with human life.

His typical paintings are “Kangsanmujindo (A chain of mountains and rivers), “Weeding”, “Boatman”, etc.

“Kangsanmujindo” is a full-width landscape picture which depicts the grand nature in an epic style. It shows a chain of high mountains, clear water running down through valleys, the people’s living on narrow paths along the waterway, the castle, fishing boats and merchant ships on the estuary, which showcase the social and economic situation of Korea in the late 18th century.

As he truthfully and vividly depicted the reality with an elegant descriptive skill and high conceptual power, the picture is regarded as a masterpiece of the realistic landscape picture.

“Weeding” shows farmers doing backbreaking work in the sweltering midsummer heat in contrast to an old landlord overseeing them in the shade of a tree. “Boatman” depicts a boatman who fell asleep on the small boat at a riverside early in the moon-rising evening.

Preserved in the Korean Art Gallery are over 20 pieces of his pictures, including “A fishing village”, “Summer has already gone”, “At the riverside”, “Flower and butterfly”, etc.

Ri In Mun made a contribution to the development of the Korean painting in the late middle ages for his drawing skills such as various composition styles, delicate and simple brushwork, introduction of perspective representation and application of various colours.

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