이 글은 鄭板橋라는 인물과 그의 삶을 이해해보려는 시도이다. 그는 서화에 그리 마음을 두지 않았고 오히려 현실 참여에 뜻을 두며 名士의 지향을 품었고, 또 한편으로 大丈夫의 삶을 지향하였다. 秀才에 대한 그의 무차별한 비판 역시 스스로 가진 지식인의 책무의식에서 발양된 현실 참여의 소산이라고 말할 수 있다. 그러나 그가 비판만을 일삼았던 것은 아니며, 삶 속에서는 남녀노소, 신분, 동물 등 관계에 대해 차등적 시선을 품지 않았고, 어려운 백성들의 처지를 이해하고 함께하려는 人文主義者로서의 모습을 보여주었다. 사람을 먼저 생각하고 경계를 넘어 타자를 대할 줄 아는 인문주의자로서 손색이 없는 그의 모습들을 하나하나 만나다 보면, 그가 평생을 들여 완성한, 우리에게 남긴 최고의 작품은 바로 그가 삶에서 보여주었던 따스한 행적들 그 자체라고 말할 수 있을 것이다.
Banqiao Zheng(鄭板橋) is one of Eight Eccentric Masters of Yangzhou(揚州八怪), a painter who has a talent in painting on orchids and bamboo, and is known for his odd appearance. As a result, many studies on him so far have focused mainly on his paintings or on individual subjects. As a result, it was not easy to look at the entire character, Banqiao Zheng. This article is an attempt to understand the character and life of Banqiao Zheng.
Banqiao Zheng was highly regarded in calligraphy at the time and now, but ironically, he did not pay much attention to calligraphy. Also, he did not give high praise for the act of painting. And he talked about senior painters who excelled in previous generations, but rather pointed out that they lacked in actual participation, so they were only painters. Through this, we can infer that Banqiao Zheng should have the intention of notables, not as a calligrapher and a painter, so that he himself tried to maintain the participatory intention considering calligraphy and painting secondary.
At the same time, what he aimed for was the life of a celebrated scholar. In this context, what draws attention is that he was enthusiastic to criticize the brilliant men. He was attacked a lot, but he did not hesitate to criticize their behavior. Such his behavior is not easy to understand without considering his usual intention to the celebrated scholar. Isn't his indiscriminate criticism of the brilliant men the participatory intention, which is cultivated by the intellectuals' own sense of responsibility? This, on the one hand, makes us understand the reason why he had challenged the civil service examination in spite of his proficiency in painting and had the aspirations of a farmer after leaving office.
What we should not miss here is that he has made ruthless criticisms of those who are dissatisfied, but that does not mean that he lived so rough and wild. Rather, he did not have a differential view of the relationship between adult and child, master and servant, man and animal in life. He sought to embrace the warmly difficult people and showed himself as a humanist who understood their situation.
Most importantly, many values in his life and his thoughts are still meaningful problem consciousness today. Looking at him as a humanist who thinks of people first and then crosses the borders and treats others, we can say that the best pictures he has ever left for us are the warm things he has shown in life.