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Chapter 34 Part 1 - 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

To The Upper Class Society (6)

As I hear a name, I feel dizzy, a symptom I recognize from experience as a sign of emerging from a dream.

After a few minutes of closing my eyes and trying to get accustomed to my surroundings, I realize I'm sitting on the rock sofa where I usually sit.

I'm in an art museum where Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, 4th movement, is still playing. The grand wall is showcasing the "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer," a painting that symbolizes a unique style developed through the golden era, blending Symbolism and Art Nouveau.

I had just seen Klimt during the time this painting was created. There was no gold in the living room of Madame Adele's mansion where I had been. Even her dress was black.

But this painting? It's entirely golden. The gold patterns are a magnificent art in themselves. The dress lacks any sense of dimensionality. Except for the lady's face, the brightness is uniform across the painting, making it look like golden wallpaper if you cover her face and exposed hands.

I ponder over the painting, resting my chin on my hand. 'Klimt was an artist who conceptualized the background, forms, and patterns first, harmonizing the protagonist accordingly. Hence, the figures in his paintings rarely stood in normal poses; they needed peculiar poses to match the surroundings.'

Though analyzing the painting externally, my mind is deeply conflicted.

Lost in thoughts while gazing at the celebration of gold, I contemplate, 'What a real artist should do.'

Perhaps my current dilemma should be 'what to paint' rather than 'how to paint.' This is a question I've never considered while creating a portrait with a clear subject in mind.

Resting my chin in hand, I sigh and delve deep into thought, surrounded by Klimt's beautiful paintings.

Then, a thought of Klimt's words comes to mind, 'People who commission portraits have hidden desires for the painter to see into their souls. And they hope these desires are are revealed through the painting.'

Something seems to flash through my mind, but the answer is not clear, and I cannot be sure if it is the right one.

At this moment, I realize that the portrait Madame Kang desires may not be just a picture that looks exactly like her.

'What inner aspect of herself does Madame Kang want to be seen?'

Right then, the digital art technique causes the figure in the portrait, projected onto the wall, to disappear. Slowly, the face of the noblewoman appears in the painting that looked like beautiful gold wallpaper, followed by her exposed shoulders and her hands beautifully clasped together.


Wait, clasped beautifully?

What about the grotesquely twisted hand?

I lean forward and furrow my eyebrows.

"This painting."

While the beautiful face of the woman and the splendid golden patterns might initially capture one's attention, the structural center of the painting is her clasped hands. What should be hidden, the hand, is in fact the focal point of the painting, but because it's naturally clasped, the deformity isn't noticeable.

My eyes tremble.

This painting, which I have seen countless times,

I think I now understand its meaning.

The emotions Klimt must have felt while painting this portrait.

The sentiments of Mrs. Bauer he wanted to express through this painting.

It seems I finally understand.

I stare at the painting until it changes to another one.

When the painting on the wall finally switches to a different one, I clench my fist.

'The reality of a disability in the hand, and being a wealthy lady who could be at the center of social circles but chooses to stay withdrawn. However, people are different. There's no guarantee that what Madame Kang wants is the same as what Mrs. Bauer wanted.'

There's no definitive answer in art.

Klimt in 1906 found his answer.

But there's no rule saying the same answer applies to Madame Kang now.

I get up, grab my bag, and nod as I look at Klimt's beautiful paintings.

"If there's a possibility of a different answer, I can find out by applying and testing the same formula. Klimt's formula."


The next day, at Madame Kang's mansion in Buam-dong.

After passing through countless rooms, Madame Kang descends the stairs and heads towards the basement.

Walking down a brightly lit underground corridor, she reaches a room at the end. When she turns on the light in the dark room, the interior of the large room becomes visible.

Despite her indifferent expression, the sight of the room is astonishing.

Countless paintings, easily exceeding a hundred, are haphazardly placed on the floor—a storage method unimaginable to those who cherish artworks. Some paintings even have their colors smeared together where they touch.

Madame Kang sorts through a few of the scattered paintings, placing them against an empty wall, then gazes at them with a dry voice, muttering, "One more piece of trash to enter this room."

The paintings in her view are all portraits, and surprisingly, all of them feature Madame Kang herself.

At that moment, a housemaid appears at the door and says, "Madam."

When Madame Kang turns around, the housemaid, looking flustered, informs her, "The young painter who visited yesterday has arrived."

"Alright, I'll be out soon. Could you prepare some tea?"

"Yes, Madam. Oh, about this room. The dust has settled thickly on the paintings. Shall I clean them?"

"No, leave them as they are."

Mrs. Kang sent the maid ahead to prepare tea, then, left alone in the room, she looked around at the paintings again, murmuring to herself.

"No matter how much they seem like trash, they are my daughter's feelings after all. I should at least clean here myself."

That's right.

All these numerous portraits in this place.

All these paintings were made by artists sent by her daughter Yoo Min-young.

Although she didn't like any of them, Mrs. Kang, feeling the earnestness in her daughter's heart, smiled and lightly dusted the room before leaving the basement.

She was a bit late cleaning, but she doubted the artist would dare reprimand her for being late.

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