This is one of those books that I intend to give as a gift to many of my friends and family. While most books on art that I have seen discuss different artists individually or purport to give some overall view of a style of art- the impressionists, the baroque, etc.- this book successfully conveys a portrait of the whole of Korean graphic art and in doing so gives the reader a feeling for Korean culture and history not found in ordinary histories. It is both visually attractive and interesting to read. It is filled with stories about the artists and their milieu, and discusses the settings and techniques used in the works discussed as well as how the art reflects the character of the artist and the artist's world. In doing so, it uses language which is at times as artistic as the paintings themselves.
In English this book does not sound like a translation, but rather like an inspired original.
- Michael Huntington, professor in the College of Humanities at Sun Moon University.
To make a foreign reader feel close to something as apparently remote as Korean art seems a daunting task. However, in ""Essential Korean Art"" Park Young- dae does exactly that. Through his sympathetic and entertaining portrayals, Park, a professional painter himself, makes his fellow- artists of long ago seem near and approachable, their struggles human, and their accomplishments real. He describes the painting process with the professional without getting lost in technical descriptions burdensome to a layperson. The simple and lucid explanations of Buddhist and Confucian concepts make the art understandable and meaningful, and, vice versa, the paintings themselves clarity and illustrate a culture unfamiliar to a non-Korean reader. His passion for the art is contagious. The book does justice to the originally and beauty of Korean classical art, Which, too long, has been hidden in the shadows of its Chinese and Japanese neighbors.
- Maarten Meijer, Ph.D., author.