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Chapter 38 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

Suddenly, I recall my last meeting with Teacher Alphonse Mucha.

Looking back, I realize I was someone without real talent.

I was rejected within five minutes during my interview at the Prague School of Fine Arts.

The interviewer told me, "There are countless people who can draw well, and the market's money is limited. You should choose a profession that can earn more money."

I blamed myself for losing hope too quickly, more than my past arrogance of overestimating my talent.

Even such a great artist as Mucha had heard such words in his youth. What was I, despairing over a few failures and years?

I look intently at the painting covered with cloth, recalling the professor's last words.

Art should never be far away.

It's art where my eyes reach, where beauty is visible.

I always wanted art to be a part of people's lives,

To give them the chance to shape their own lives.

I always did what I loved.

But I wanted to serve others with my talent.

I always wanted to do something helpful for the world.

The purpose of my last work was not destruction but to rebuild and unite.

I hoped humanity would lead each other through this, understanding each other more.

Has my life been of any help to humanity?

The reason I recall my last conversation with my teacher while looking at this painting is because the thoughts I learned from the teacher are melted into it. However, whether that heart, that feeling, will be conveyed to the client is unknown.

As I was lost in thought, I felt a presence from the corridor. The tension of presenting the painting in front of Madam suddenly made me rise awkwardly, but the sight of the people, no, the group that appeared, made me freeze.

'Oh my, Chairman Yoo and President Yoo Min-young as well.'

It would have been nice if they had mentioned wanting to see the painting beforehand.

Suddenly, I found myself holding a demonstration in front of many people. Chairman Yoo extends his hand to me, who stands awkwardly like a pageboy.

“Yoo Chang-hyun.”

“Huh? Ah, yes. Ban Jung-hoon.”

I wonder why?

I only heard about the chairman in stories, but I feel a fondness in his gaze from the first meeting.

Min-young slightly nods her head and then sits on the sofa, linking arms with Madam Kang, and says,

“You know you spent more than double the requested time, right?”


“It’s okay. As long as I like the painting. Dad, sit down too.”

As Min-young sits down with Madam Kang on the sofa, Chairman Yoo also takes his seat.

I suddenly find myself standing alone at the head of the room, facing the people. I swallow hard. A presentation in front of the family of a major hotel group’s head. I had never imagined this.

Take a deep breath and calm down.

‘Teacher! Please help me.’

I recall Teacher Mucha in my mind.

Klimt’s figure passes by, but since I haven’t even had a conversation with him, that thought quickly fades.

But just remembering the two strong supporters calms me a bit.

People think of art majors as bad at speaking, bad at presenting. But that’s a big misunderstanding. Art school isn’t just about drawing. Assignments are always presented, and we always conclude by explaining our own paintings in front of the professor and fellow students.

There’s a story of a guy who got an A+ for putting a dot on a huge canvas and meaningfully rattling off about it. That’s how important it is to imbue and explain meaning in your artwork in assignments, as much as artistic skill.

Thanks to the repeated education of my college days, I quickly regain my composure, swallow once, and open my mouth.

“First of all, I’d like to say it was an immense honor to paint Madam’s portrait...”

Perhaps because we’ve gotten a bit closer? Madam Kang interrupts me with a laugh.

“Why are you like that, not like an artist at all? Skip the introduction and get to the point.”

I scratch my head and smack my lips. I thought such courtesies were necessary in front of the chairman.

But at least the mood isn’t bad.

The chairman gestures for me to proceed comfortably, and Madam Kang smiles a bit mischievously.

Only Min-young looks curious, still focused on the covered painting, and says,

“How about we look at the painting first? What style did you use? Is it realistic?”

Chairman Yoo leans in, joining in.

“I’m curious too. I’m old-fashioned, so I don’t like abstract art. I prefer portraits from the Renaissance or earlier. It’d be nice if it’s an accurate representation like a photograph.”

Min-young, fittingly an art major, chips in.

“Traditional academicism, right?”

I quietly look at Min-young and then say,

“I painted this picture with imagination.”


The room falls silent. Min-young’s expression is the most bizarre.

Isn’t it obvious?

A portrait artist painting with imagination?

I look at the quiet people and say,

“Artists are often said to imprison time on the canvas. That’s true in the case of realistic art. Because the time in the painting is forever stopped. But even then, there is imagination. Trees that weren’t there appear, and the sun and moon that couldn’t exist at the time the artist was painting show up. Then where does this imagination come from?”

Silence falls again.

I look intently at Min-young.

She must know the answer, having majored in painting even in Florence University.

Receiving my gaze, Min-young answers softly.

“It’s the void of reality.”


I smile broadly and look at Chairman Yoo. He looks utterly bewildered, not understanding anything about art.

I ask him.

“Chairman, do you know the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’?”

A very famous painting.

The chairman nods.

"I like that painting. I was curious about the story behind it, so I even looked up the movie."

"The one with Scarlett Johansson?"


"Could you briefly summarize the story in the painting?"

Chairman Yoo thinks for a moment and then speaks, "The painter's daughter, unable to work due to illness, becomes a maid in a famous painter's house. She converses with the painter, having been close to art since childhood because of her father. The painter, taken with the maid, paints her portrait and eventually lets her wear his wife's pearl earrings. The wife, discovering this, drives them both out. After the painter's death, the earrings are sent to the girl, that's the story."

I smiled faintly and said, "You have a very good memory, Chairman."

"Hehe, I don't easily forget what I've seen once."

I looked at the Chairman, who seemed somewhat proud, and then spoke.

"Do you also know this?"

"Yes, if it's about the movie, I remember everything, so ask away."

I observed the Chairman, who was inviting me to ask anything with his eyes, and then said, "Everything you just mentioned about the movie is a lie."

The eyes of Chairman Yoo, who had been watching me, shook violently.

"Excuse me?"

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