Zoom Into Lee Ungno: Self-portrait

By Lee Ungno Museum

Self-portrait (1956) by Lee UngnoLee Ungno Museum

This painting 'Self-Portrait', which was made in 1956, stimulates the imagination in many ways. From a distance, it looks like a face, but a closer examination shows that the painting has an entirely different world hidden inside.

Based on the painting’s title, Self-portrait, we can guess that this circle, which seems to have been drawn intentionally, is the 'eye'.

Can this part, then, be the 'nose'…?

And is this the 'mouth'?

If you look at the painting from a completely different perspective, the shapes may seem to resemble animals that are jumping and moving around.

Another part looks like a landscape with greenery and water!

An even closer look at the painting shows the texture of the mulberry paper and the blur of the India ink.

You can also appreciate the intricate brushwork.

This painting, which was made when the abstract art movement was first beginning in Korea, is one of Lee Ungno’s first forays into abstract art and is therefore widely known as a pioneering work of art.

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