Joseon-era beauty to be shown after 21 years

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Joseon-era beauty to be shown after 21 years

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Mi-indo

The original version of the Mi-indo, a painting of a beautiful woman from sometime between late 18th century and early 19th century, will be shown to the public for the first time in 21 years.

Yesterday, Haenam in South Jeolla opened the Yun Seon-do exhibition with more than 4,600 cultural properties donated by the Yun family, and the painting is one of them. Yun Seon-do, whose hometown was Haenam, was a governmental official in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) renowned for his literary masterpiece called Eobusasisa.

Although Haenam has long had a Yun Seon-do exhibition, the one that opened yesterday is a prelude to the opening of the 1,380 square meter Yun Seon-do Museum in October. Haenam started building the museum in 2004.

The painting of Mi-indo had been part of previous Yun Seon-do exhibitions until it was stolen in 1989 and sold to an antique art shop in Insa-dong, Seoul. Fortunately, however, the thief was arrested right before the painting was sold to an art dealer in Japan. Although the painting was safely returned to the Yun family, they kept it hidden, as they were worried that it might get stolen again. Until now, the Mi-indo painting shown as part of the Yun Seon-do exhibition has been a duplicate.

Now, the original version of the painting will be presented to the public once again.

Although the painting carries artistic significance representative of the beauty of the era, it is not yet clear who created it. The Yun family argues that the artist was Yun Yong, grandson of famous and respected artist Yun Du-seo, who is a great-grandson of Yun Seon-do. That is also the dominant view in the art world.

However, there are some who disagree with that assessment. Lee Tae-ho, a professor of art history at Myeongji University, argues that “The painting is from the early 19th century and it is clear that it was not drawn by Yun Yong.

It must have been someone else in the Yun family or someone completely unrelated to them. The Yun family could have just acquired the painting, not produced it.”


By Lee Hai-suk [enational@joongang.co.kr]



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