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Chapter 106 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

Why this era, you might ask?

It's because of three inventions that drastically changed the course of art history.

One is the camera, another is the steam engine, and the last is the paint tube.

The camera was developed in 1839, and the ability to capture the exact likeness of objects in photographs made it pointless to continue replicating nature in painting.

The invention of the steam engine popularized trains in Europe.

Travel, once a pricey privilege of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, became accessible to common people with the advent of the train.

Lastly, the paint tube.

The development of the tube expanded the working range of artists.

Previously, carrying paints was impossible.

Painters had to set up workshops and have their apprentices make the paint, so they couldn't leave their workshops.

They could sketch outside, but coloring was done indoors.

However, with the development of the paint tube, which allowed painting outdoors, and the steam engine enabling day trips to desired locations, artists began to move beyond depicting just their immediate surroundings.

They took trains to the outdoors and painted the scenes they saw directly.

The development of photographic technology has led to an era where paintings no longer hold significance in preserving the appearance of nature. The last era of capturing fleeting natural moments in light impressions was marked by artists like Monet.

Light appears differently over time.

Every color we see is an illusion.

It’s not the inherent color, but a visual effect created by light that we perceive as color.

Because light constantly changes, Impressionist painters quickly captured these moments in their paintings.

They omitted details and generally used bright colors, typical of Impressionism.

I remembered Monet's expression while quietly observing how the shadows of food change with the light.

"A face that didn't want to draw."

I know that expression.

It was just like mine, reflected in the window when I worked part-time at a factory painting fake art.

A waste of time for the sake of earning living expenses.

Of course, I rationalized it by thinking of that time as practice to hone my skills. Otherwise, it would have been too hard to endure.

Monet of that era was not recognized at all.

Now, Impressionist works are classified as classics, but in Europe back then, this style was too new.

During the medieval Renaissance, novelty wasn’t important.

Artists drew vividity based on imagination rather than pursuing originality and innovation.

Impressionism was the first to bring novelty to the art world.

At that time in France, only artists who passed the Salon jury and won awards were allowed to exhibit, and those who didn’t pass were not noticed and failed to succeed. This jury required perfection in depiction, expression, composition, and color, so Impressionist painters, who boldly omitted details, were bound to fail.

The criticism Impressionist painters faced at the time was so severe that there was a magazine in France called "Charivari".

Louis Leroy, a renowned critic, left such reviews on Impressionist works in this magazine.

"It looks like a stain stuck on a dirty canvas. There is no hand, foot, top, or bottom, no front or back."

"It’s a pity. They have some sense of color but lack drawing skills."

Can you imagine?

Someone left such criticism on works of Impressionists including Claude Monet.

And that's not all. He even commented on Monet's 'Impression, Sunrise,' now a headline work at the Louvre Museum in Paris, saying:

"Impression? Sure. I got an impression. I muttered to myself that it must contain an impression. Such an easy painting. A preliminary drawing for wallpaper patterns would be more refined than this seascape."

Art of that time had to contain philosophy.

But Impressionist painters did not include philosophy in their paintings.

There was no historical or philosophical background to the paintings. Just pleasant to look at, offering a sense of freedom.

Impressionism broke the philosophy that nobles had heavily attached to art.

I mused, chin in hand.

"Maybe our thoughts when viewing bizarre and obscure contemporary art were similar."

Go to a contemporary art museum now.

There are no pretty paintings. Mostly incomprehensible ones.

Now we paint the unseen personality, philosophy, and emotions of the artist.

Beautiful things have moved to the world of commercial design.

Humans began to look inside, not at the beauty of nature.

The changes and explosions of inner emotions. These are what are painted now.

Art is no longer beautiful in itself.

The aesthetics of beauty have changed to the aesthetics of novelty.

If it's not new, it's not recognized.

That's contemporary art.

Everyone has said or heard someone say this when looking at contemporary art.

"I could paint better with my feet. What is this? It just looks like paint was sprayed on."

In the eyes of people from the medieval era, Impressionist paintings probably appeared the way we view contemporary art now.

Maybe in the distant future.

People a hundred years from now might think of those who didn’t understand contemporary art of this era as ignorant. Or maybe they'll see us as poor humans who lived in a time when art died.

All these judgments are for the people of the future to make.

To escape poverty.

Monet had to earn money to protect his beloved woman.

What was he feeling?

Although I'm in a similar situation, my emotions would be different from his due to the different times.

At this thought, I reflect on my life.

I lived as a street portrait painter, then met Monica and designed refrigerators, and drew her portrait.

That connection led me to Minyoung, and I received my current house for painting Mrs. Kang's portrait, painted a theater ceiling, and created digital media art for a world-renowned pianist. I even had the exhibition I longed for.

“Did I paint what I wanted to, what I wished to paint?”

It would be a lie to say I never thought about this issue.

But I don’t think my activities were unhappy.

I was happy with the whole process, and satisfied that it raised my family's standard of living.

Staring at the cold food, I mumbled.

"So, can I continue to be happy?"

After encountering the art museum, many things around me have changed.

And the art museum always prompts me to ask questions to myself.

Moreover, these questions never have predetermined answers.

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