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Chapter 3 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

Dad looked at the calendar paper I was drawing on for a while and then smiled broadly.

'Our second child, your drawing skills are improving, aren't they?'

'Yes! I drew a lot. With the pencil dad bought me.'

'Really? How many pencils are left?'

'Hmm, two out of twelve.'

'I see, you're running out of them. I'll buy you new pencils when I go out again.'

'The ones you bought me before! My school friends are jealous of my pencils.'

'Really? Then I'll buy you more pencils, so will you draw hard?'

'Yes! I'm going to be a painter when I grow up!'

'Really? Are you confident?'


'Then shall we make a promise with dad? To become a great painter for sure.'


That day, we made a pinky promise.

We rubbed our palms together, copying each other and pressed our thumbs together as a seal.

Dad had returned after a long time.

Having Dad at home felt like moving from a barren house without any walls to protect us, to a grand mansion guarded by security personnel.

Some say childhood dreams change every day. But I couldn’t change my dream anymore. I couldn’t tell it to Dad, who didn’t return after leaving for his next job.

My disabled brother, my mother who couldn’t work because of him, and me, still young.

The three of us left behind lived on government support.

Some people pointed their fingers at me, saying that I was a pathetic person who only wanted to do what I wanted, leaving my family behind, when our house was so poor and I was the only human being who could work.

But I had no other choice.

Even lying on a thin blanket on the cold floor in a dark, half-basement room, facing horrors and insults in the darkness, I always remembered the promise with Dad in my dreams.

I tried hard. I thought becoming an artist would fulfill my promise to Dad and take care of my family.

But after graduating and entering society, there were no jobs. Even friends from prestigious art schools like Hongik, Kookmin, and Seoul National University ended up as docents who guided the works in museums after studying abroad, a harsh reality in this field.

Most of my friends who didn’t give up on painting went to design companies. Those who remained as pure artists were one in a thousand.

“Dad. It seems hard work alone isn’t enough.”

I’ve thought about giving up many times. In fact, I’m still considering it.

Maybe I should just get a job to free my mom and brother from this miserable welfare life.

As my thoughts grew darker,

And despair stemmed from conflict,

Just then, the majestic music signaling the start of the exhibition program played, and the massive paintings I was looking at lit up.

I unclenched my jaw, straightened my back, and smiled faintly at the paintings.

"The Seasons."

One of Mucha’s most famous series.

Also one of my favorite works by him.

Each painting personifies the characteristics of a season with fairy-like women, using distinct, wavy lines, vibrant colors, and backgrounds adorned with flowers and trees, perfectly representing the Art Nouveau style.

I turned my head towards the painting of Spring projected on the left wall.

A beautiful woman with long blonde hair and a white dress, wearing a floral wreath.

The woman playing the harp seemed to be celebrating the upcoming spring.

Around her were numerous flowers representing spring.

I quietly watched the five birds sitting on the harp she was playing.

The birds pecking at the strings of the harp seem to be welcoming spring as they sing along.


Truly beautiful. How did someone paint this 120 years ago? It doesn't look outdated even now. Honestly, I'd believe it if someone said it was painted by a popular illustrator of our time.

I lifted my head to see the painting of summer on the ceiling.

The woman, the protagonist of summer, wears a wreath of fiery red flowers, symbolizing the heat of the sun.

So hot that her clothes have slipped to expose her shoulders,

She is perched on a tree vine, dipping her feet in the stream.

Resting from the heat, yet her eyes are seductive and beautiful.

After briefly admiring the painting of summer, I looked forward to the painting of autumn, which I always found impressive.

"There's so much conveyed in the painting of autumn."

Autumn is the season of bountiful harvest.

In the painting, a woman of autumn, wearing a chrysanthemum flower wreath, joyfully harvests grapes.

Anyone thinking of autumn would predict this far.

However, what sets this painting apart is the physical difference between the women of other seasons and the woman of autumn.

While the women of other seasons are either slender or just beautiful, the autumn woman has muscular arms and shoulders, resembling those of a man who exercises frequently.

I nodded, looking at the woman's physique.

"Working and harvesting in the fields naturally develops healthy muscles in a woman's body. Alphonse Mucha's ability to express such delicate details is truly remarkable."

I spent a long time admiring the autumn painting before turning my head to the right wall, where the winter painting was.

The woman, wrapped up in a dress to her head, sits breathing warm air into her frozen red hands. The barren branches around her, covered in snow, make the painting feel cold just by looking at it.

"But Mucha portrayed it differently."

In front of the woman, three birds sit huddled against the cold. They seem too cold to move.

I looked around, comparing the birds in the spring painting with those in the winter painting.

The birds in winter appear plumper than those in spring.

One could think they've feasted in autumn, or perhaps they've grown their winter feathers, but I heard that Alphonse Mucha painted these plump birds hoping they would survive the winter well.

Also, the woman's hand, which seems to be warming herself with her breath, actually holds a small bird.

On closer inspection, it's clear that she is not warming her own hand but the small bird.

This painting beautifully conveys the compassionate heart of the artist.

"The Seasons," paintings of the beautiful seasons expressed in pastel tones and curves. I really love these paintings.

As I was enjoying the paintings, feeling as if I had rented the entire gallery, the music crescendoed and the paintings changed. I gasped as I saw a single, huge painting rise.


A painting well-known to Koreans as the 12 Zodiac signs. This single painting dominates the space of the exhibition, representing Mucha's work.

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