The quintessential palace painting, Donggwoldo
These are pictures of Changdeokgung Palace and Changgyeonggung Palace, which are located at the east side of the main palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace.
The two pictures are under the title Donggwoldo, or the Picture of the East Palace.
Considering the maintenance of the structures in the pictures and the reconstruction date of some of them, supposedly the pictures were painted between 1826 and 1831, during the reign of King Sunjo.
It is likely that the painters at Dohwaseo, the Office of Drawings and Paintings, drew them.
They are 576cm wide and 273cm long and made into sixteen fold screens.
The main perspective is from the right angle, looking downwards.
The arbors and bridges of the two palaces, surrounded by mountains and hills, the garden arrangements including the lotus flowers and rocks as well as the walls are all depicted realistically to minute details.
The mountains and hills in the background are painted in the manner of Namjonghwa, one of the two schools in Chinese painting.
However, the painting mode of the palaces and the way the distance is controlled seem to reveal the influence of western painting.
The two pictures show the same mode of expression, technique, and are of the same size.
The only difference is that one is painted in colors and has the name of the palace painted on in black characters.
These two pictures have more value in the study of palace structures than as mere paintings.
The placement of structures and the surrounding scenes are visualized more vividly than the floor plans such as the main royal palaces and the palace for the crown prince.
They are important materials in historical researches.