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Court Paintings from the Joseon Dynasty

Court Paintings from the Joseon Dynasty


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  • The court paintings of the Joseon Dynasty (13921910) were artwork created for the appreciation of the king, his family, and high-ranking officials. The type of the court paintings hardly deviated from those pieces created for the common people; in essence, court painters did not adhere to any particular genre, though pictorial style would vary over time. Unlike pieces created for the general public, however, court paintings served a more specific function than those done outside the palace.

    One of the major functions of Joseon court paintings was education. Pictures of significant moments of history were used to help the king and prince learn from the past and cultivate a heightened sense of morality and leadership. Another crucial function of court paintings was both the documentation and conservation of the visual culture of the eras in which they were created. During the Joseon Dynasty, a period whose philosophical foundation rested on Confucian ideals, images played an essential role in the efficient management of the state. The Joseon court paintings are the pinnacle of contemporary artwork of their time, produced by anonymous court painters to meet the tastes of the commissioners while abiding by past customs.

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