Book 2, Growing Up, Chapter 22 – The Proulx Gallery (part two)
The Proulx Gallery.
The number one art gallery for sculptures, each of the largest cities in the Yulan continent had a Proulx Gallery branch. The Proulx Gallery took up an extremely large space, and a great majority of those entering the gallery were people of culture and breeding.
Within the Proulx Gallery, if you had too many ostentatious magic rings on your hands, the likely result would just be you being mocked and derided for having no class.
This place valued these things the most.
The entry fee to the Proulx Gallery was one gold coin per person.
A ding-dong sound, as clear as the sound of a mountain spring, rang out from within the Proulx Gallery. The sound of it made listeners feel at peace. Countless people traversed the gateway, with many noblemen, noblewoman, and beautiful young girls, all dressed very tastefully.
And commoners, in front of the Proulx Gallery, would almost unconsciously comport themselves.
When Linley and his bros, along with Cass and the three guardsmen, arrived at the Proulx Gallery, anyone who was a decent judge of character could recognize the Ernst Institute clothing that they wore. Upon seeing the Blue-eyed Thunderhawk on Cass’ shoulders, they naturally would become very courteous and polite.
“Uncle Cass, come in along with us. The other three can wait for us outside.” Yale instructed.
Linley, his three bros, and Cass thus entered the gallery. In the main hall of the Proulx Gallery, there was a large, man-shaped sculpture. This sculpture was precisely that of the number one grandmaster sculptor, Proulx.
The entire Proulx Gallery was extremely quiet.
Virtually everyone, regardless of status, spoke in hushed tones, so as to avoid bothering anyone else.
Yale, Reynolds, George, and Linley viewed one stone sculpture after another, and in their hearts they felt as though these sculptures truly were incomparably beautiful.
“The Proulx Gallery’s exhibits are divided into three halls; the main hall, the experts’ hall, and the masters’ hall. This main hall is filled with sculptures that some sculptors arranged to be placed here, to be valued and bought by others as they see fit. Each work is exhibited for a month, and after a month, the highest bid wins the sculpture. These ordinary sculptures are mostly just worth a few gold coins, with particularly good ones worth a few dozen coins.”
Yale laughed as he explained. “But the experts’ hall is different. The experts’ exhibition is divided up into many individual rooms, with each sculpture in a room by itself. Generally speaking, an ‘expert’ is someone whose sculpting ability has received general acclaim, and most expert sculptures are worth around a thousand gold coins or so.”
“As for the masters’ hall, that’s even more amazing. In the innermost sanctum of the gallery, there are a very small number of masters’ sculptures. The price of these sculptures is frighteningly high. Any of them are easily worth tens of thousands of gold, and some of the masterpieces which first brought fame to their master sculptors are easily worth hundreds of thousands of gold pieces.” Yale explained to his three bros in detail.
Linley’s breath stopped.
Any masterpiece by a master sculptor was worth tens of thousands of gold coins. To a master sculptor, money really meant nothing at all.
“But it is quite difficult for a master sculptor to produce a masterpiece, since they naturally don’t want to make any mistakes at all.” Yale sighed as he spoke. “A masterpiece that is worthy of being venerated throughout the ages, requires talent, ability, and sometimes a sudden spark of genius.”
“The works in this main hall are just a bit pleasing to the eye, is all. Let’s go inside.” Yale led them deeper within.
Walking within the quiet Proulx Gallery, and listening to that peaceful music, Linley felt as though he were swimming in a sea of culture. And just at this time, Doehring Cowart flew out from within the Coiling Dragon Ring and began to appraise the art nearby.
“Terrible, terrible. How can people have the face to bring out artwork of this quality to show others?” Doehring Cowart said unhappily.
“Grandpa Doehring,” Linley turned to look at Doehring Cowart. “This is just the main hall of the Proulx Gallery. There is an experts’ hall up front, as well as a masters’ hall.”
“Proulx Gallery?” Doehring Cowart started, and then actually stopped talking.
“Grandpa Doehring, Grandpa Doehring?” Linley mentally called out a few times. But seeing that Doehring Cowart was still lost in his thoughts, Linley no longer tried to call to him. He followed Yale, Reynolds, and George to the experts’ hall. This hall really was different, as within the center of the main hall, each and every artist had their information recorded and the location of their displays recorded.
Yale, Linley, and the others began to enter the individual display rooms.
Although he didn’t know much about sculpture, Linley could still clearly feel that the sculptures of the experts were clearly different than those in the main hall. They seemed to carry within them some sort of ineffable grace and culture.
Just as Linley was falling into a reverie while enjoying the sculptures, Doehring Cowart’s voice sounded out in his mind once again.
“Not bad. These at least can be considered accomplished.” Doehring Cowart sighed with praise. “But compared to the works of Proulx, there’s still quite a way to go.”
Linley was speechless.
“Doehring Cowart, how can these people possibly compare to Grandmaster Proulx?” Linley shook his head and laughed helplessly. Proulx was the number one sculptor in the entire history of the Yulan continent.
Doehring Cowart frowned. Stroking his beard unhappily, he said, “What is it? Do you think that Proulx was a grandmaster from birth? He, too, started as an ordinary sculptor and worked his way up, and becoming a true grandmaster sculptor in the end.”
Linley was stunned.
There was some logic to Grandpa Doehring’s words.
After finishing inspecting the experts’ hall, Linley and the other three headed for the innermost masters’ hall.
“Everyone, remember, while within the masters’ hall, don’t touch anything. If you break anything, it would be disastrous.” Yale reminded them.
Entering the masters’ hall. Silence.
The masters’ hall was extremely large, but there were only very few sculptures inside. After all, only so many masters had ever existed, and each master had only four or five works of art on display. In the entire hall, there were only twenty or thirty works on display.
But although there were very few sculptures, when Linley and the others saw these sculptures, they felt a spirit emanating from them, as though these sculptures had life.
“Oh, not bad, not bad. I didn’t expect that in five thousand years, the art of stone-sculpting would reach such a height.” Doehring Cowart said in amazement. “If these can improve a bit more, they will be able to approximate Proulx’s level.”
Silently mesmerized within the art gallery, Linley and the others felt their spirits be uplifted.
Night. The Ernst Institute’s main gate. Linley and other three dismounted the carriage.
“Second bro, third bro, the two of you, ugh. I planned for us to have a good time tonight in Fenlai City, but you…ugh, you guys are so thin-skinned. I started having fun in those places when I was six years old.” Yale was still unhappily grumbling nonstop.
“Right on, right on,” Reynolds said from the side.
George and Linley glanced at each other, and couldn’t help but chuckle bitterly.
“Quick, open the gate!” A furious, urgent shout rang out.
Linley and the others couldn’t help but swivel to take a look. They saw a curly-haired youth carrying another bloody youth, with a pretty girl by his side. The bloody youth’s face was ashen white. His left arm was broken, with white bones sticking out, and chest covered with claw marks.
“Looks like some of the trainees who went to the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts were wounded. What group is this? We haven’t even been at the Ernst Institute for a year, but we’ve seen so many high level students who were injured outside.” Yale said casually.
The Mountain Range of Magical Beasts was east of the Holy Union.
As a matter of fact, it was quite close to the Ernst Institute, perhaps just a hundred kilometers away. Generally speaking, those in good shape would be able to jog from the mountain range to the Ernst Institute in about half a day.
“Here at the Ernst Institute, I’ve seen so many magical beasts. Wow, man, there are flying beasts, running beasts, and all sorts of beasts. But most of the people who have magical beast companions at the Ernst Institute are magus instructors, and a few high level students.” George sighed in admiration.
Just as the four bros arrived at the main gate, suddenly –
A familiar voice sounded out. Turning his head to look, surprised joy appeared on Linley’s face. “Uncle Hillman.”