Kim Hong-do

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Kim Hong-do
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Hongdo
McCune–ReischauerKim Hongdo
Art name
Revised RomanizationDanwon, Dan-gu, Seoho, Gomyeon-geosa, or Cheopchwiong
McCune–ReischauerTanwŏn, Tan'gu, Sŏho Komyŏn'gŏsa, or Ch'ŏpch'wiong
Courtesy name
Revised RomanizationSaneung

Kim Hong-do (Korean김홍도, 1745–c.1806 to 1814) was a Korean painter during the Joseon dynasty. He is mostly remembered for his depictions of the everyday life of ordinary people, in a manner analogous to painters of the Dutch Golden Age.[1] He was also widely known by his pen name Danwon (단원).


Kim was a member of the Gimhae Kim clan. He grew up in present-day Ansan, South Korea. At the age of 7, Kim Hong-do studied under the renowned master Pyoam Kang Se-hwang, who was then living in seclusion in Ansan.[2] In 1766, at the age of 21, on the recommendation of Kang Sehwang,[3] he entered the royal service as a member (hwawon) of the Dohwaseo, the official painters of the Joseon court. In 1771, he painted the portrait of the Royal Heir (the future King Jeongjo). In 1773, he assisted Byeon Sang-byeok when painting the Royal Portrait of King Yeongjo (1694–1724–1776).

In 1776, he painted the "Nineteen Taoist Immortals", that skyrocketed his reputation as a painter. At the same time, the new instated King Jeongjo (1752–1776–1800) commissioned him for many institutional paintings.

He died in loneliness and poverty, though the circumstances, and even the year are unknown. Depending on the source, some state that he died in 1806,[4] 1810,[5] or after 1814.[1][3]


Kim is remembered today as one of the "Three Wons," together with Hyewon and Owon. He is also often joined to Owon and the 15th-century painter An Gyeon as one of Joseon's three greatest painters.

The city of Ansan, where he spent his youth and learned his craft, has memorialized him in many ways. The district of Danwon-gu is named after him, as is Ansan's annual "Danwon Art Festival." Many public places have been designed in imitation of his works.[6]


Various sources have various opinions about what could be a 'top ten' list for Kim Hong-do.[4][5][7] The most important fact is how successful was Kim Hong-do in all the various types of paintings.

Towooart provides a short notice and an argumented selection of paintings.[8] The Korean Copyright Commission lists 757 paintings, 7 calligraphies and 4 moldings for Kim Hong-do.[9] Some paintings have multiple descriptions: often a sepia version is given with a very fine resolution, and a colorful one with a lower resolution. An example is "Feast for the Pyongyang Governor" (평양감사 향안도).

  • The paintings that launched the reputation of Kim Hongdo.
신언인도 (1773)
Indian Prophet
Gunseondo 군선도 (1776)
The Nineteen Taoist Immortals
  • 'Literati' paintings.
  • Official paintings
Feast for the Pyongyang Governor (1, Dinner)
  • The designated painter of the King
Main hall of Yongjusa
  • "Genre paintings". Among them, the album Danwon pungsokdo provides a serie of 25 paintings. Here are only four of them:
Chuseongbu 추성부도, Landscape in night of autumn [poem by Ouyang Xiu (1007~1072)]
Samgongbulhwando 삼공불환, The Nature Better than the Official Ranks

In popular culture[edit]


The novel Painter of the Wind,[10] by Lee Jung-myung, is centered on Gim and Sin Yun-bok, who is portrayed as a woman disguised as a man.

Film and television[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Turner 2003, p. (18)53
  2. ^ "Kim Hong-do, a Distinguished Painter of Joseon Dynasty". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Pratt 1999, p. 211
  4. ^ a b "김홍도". (in Korean). Retrieved December 3, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Britannica. "Encyclopaedia Britannica: 김홍도" (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  6. ^ "Danwon-gu". GrandCulture.
  7. ^ Chansol 2015
  8. ^ TWA 2013
  9. ^ KCC 2013
  10. ^ Lee Jung-myung (이정명,), Painter of the Wind Vol. 1 & 2, Million House, Seoul, 2007. ISBN 978-89-91643-26-0 & ISBN 978-89-91643-27-7.
  11. ^ Mysterious Artist Resurfaces on Modern Culture Scene, Korea Times, 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2010-07-07.


  • Pratt, Keith L.; Rutt, Richard; Hoare, James E. (1999). Korea, A Historical and Cultural Dictionary. Durham East Asia Series. Routledge. p. 568. ISBN 978-0-7007-0463-7.
  • Turner, Jane (2003). Grove Dictionary of Art. Oxford University Press, US. p. 32600. ISBN 978-0-1951-7068-9.
  • Oh, Joosok, Adjunct Professor, Chung-Ang University (2007). "The Life and Art of Kim Hong-do". Korean Art and Archeology. National Museum of Korea. 1: 34–45.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]