World of Life


“I’m watching the shower of spring. And at this moment, my eyes exist only for the scene of a spring shower. It is for my eyes to feel only the rain and rainbow in the scene where there are trees with lush green leaves and flowers.”

– Jean-François Millet


<Le Printemps> , Jean-François Millet, 19C


The piece looks like a world of fantasy but Millet is actually a painter of ‘naturalism and realism.’ If so, this scene of spring is actually depicting the real spring. Millet immersed himself in ‘this moment’ and tried to paint the scene of spring showers on the canvas. His effort comes forth in this piece. We come to wonder while observing the piece: is the world in which we live that beautiful? Millet has painted a spring full of life realistically but elaborately, thus it looks like the world of fantasy. In fact, the world we live is such a beautiful world but we ourselves only cannot see that and cannot feel that. Darkness and light harmoniously exist in Millet’s painting. The sunshine that suddenly illuminates after the rain and creates a crystal clear shine through raindrops and a rainbow… it is the world of life itself. We can find Millet’s delicacy on the canvas as he delicately observed how little flowers bloomed. It depicts his modesty and awe for nature and life.



< Painting of plants and Insects – eggplant and long-headed grasshopper >

Shin Saimdang

In Cho Sun Dynasty of the 16th century, female painter Shin Saimdang painted the world of life. Insects and plants that she observed from the field became the main focus. The unripe eggplant, the ripening eggplant, and the deep purple ripe eggplant have been delicately expressed. You can feel the modesty of the painter from this delicate expression. The more you observe nature, the more modest you become as a human; because you realize the abilities that you have seem almost insignificant compared to the existence that created all kinds of creatures with various shapes, sizes and colors. This seems to be the mindset of Shin Saimdang who painted Painting of Plants and Insects. There is nothing in the world that is more various than nature and there is no better tool to express life than the nature itself.


<Sky Blue >, Wassily Kandinsky, 1940


Since 1933 when Wassily Kandinsky was a painter in Paris, the perception of nature began to change due to the development of science in Paris. As optical instruments radically developed, people could soon approach the microscopic world. Before then, nature was all about what we could see with our eyes. But with the discovery of the microscopic world, we could approach the original underlying forms. Kandinsky gave attention to this point. He came to know that there were abstract forms in the microscopic world. The forms appeared on Kandinsky’s abstract canvas became more simple and at the same time, his abstractness became more intense.

The objects you can see from Sky Blue give you the impression that you are seeing microorganisms with a microscope. They look like they are freely moving as they are not influenced by gravity. Moreover, this scene seems that it has expressed the moment where all creations were created in a complete form from the emptiness. Because the emptiness – the foundation of the world – is ‘alive’, everything can appear from it. All of the forms that have been created are perfect as they are; therefore, the moment you look into the microscope, you can go beyond the physical form and see the universe. Kandinsky would have wanted to express that ‘universe’ with this piece, wouldn’t he? It is that ‘Universe,’ the living world full of life. No matter how far or how close away, everything is essentially one. And that oneness is life itself. It is the truth that is simple but not easily realized.

I believe that musical rhythm and life that flow all over Kandinsky’s canvas would have been created as a result of his deep introspection about the universe. The sound of life is also flowing out as beautiful music forever from this piece Sky Blue. Kandinsky’s pieces are abstract paintings but he might have delicately observed the world and painted the world as it is seen.

Likewise, the world we live is the world of life itself that is alive. We only have to open our eyes in order to see that world.