Encounter: “The bride”, a painting analysis

a closer taking from The bride episode 14
Encounter episode 14 painting the bride CSH SA.png
episode 14

After meeting KJH’s mother, it becomes clear that CSH will choose to break up with him. She has many reasons for this decision. First, we have to imagine that she suffered a lot in her first marriage due to the mental abuse from her mother-in-law. So when she met YJ, the words from the latter clearly showed that she wouldn’t accept her as future daughter-in-law. So I doubt that anyone who suffered abuse from a mother-in-law would be ready to go through the same experience again. Secondly, KJH kept pressuring her to marry him. He had noticed her unhappiness, when she saw the couple in wedding clothes. He offered her the bouquet but she never gave an answer… he had to ask over and over again, until she accepted his proposal. Her hesitation is quite understandable. She associates marriage to unhappiness. When she saw the wedding dress, she was reminded of her unhappy marriage which left a huge scar in CSH’s heart. CSH was not only scarred by her mother-in-law but by her marriage as such. Don’t forget that until she finally met SA, she really thought that her husband had fallen in love with another woman and never really loved her.

So when we see this scene, CSH is looking at the painting created by Soo Ah. The painting is called the bride and strangely, the bride has no head. We only see the gown of the bride. Since the head is missing, it creates an anonymity. Due to the colors (yellow, beige and grey), a certain melancholy oozes from the painting too. Moreover, the bride dress is not really white, rather cream giving the impression that time had passed on. To conclude, this bride and marriage is not evoking happiness, rather lost time or dreams.

In this taking, CSH in the background is standing for a long time in front of that painting. To me, it looks like CSH is actually thinking about her next move, the break up. Yet, I also sense that by looking at the picture she is trying to find solace. She will break up with KJH, yet she is imagining herself getting married again. On the one hand, the painting helps her to escape from her oppressive situation, on the other hand to find closure. By imagining herself in that dress, she is able to give up on the marriage. That’s why there is no head. The beholder is asked to imagine herself in that gown.

Then in this taking, we have the fake mistress in the foreground. She is the author of that painting. In my opinion, she was inspired by her own situation. Back then, she had signed a contract with JWS asking her to eat with him and spend times with him in exchange for money. She had to act like the girlfriend and mistress. However, as time passed on, she fell in love with JWS and she started dreaming of marrying JWS. As you can see, she drew the painting with this wish in mind. She wished to be the bride and kept waiting and hoping that this would come true. That’s why the beholder perceives longing and melancholy in this drawing. However, she could never express her wish because she was bound with the contract therefore the bride has no head. She can not show it in the open. The painting helped her to hope and overcome her loneliness. However, when JWS broke up with her, she realized that this had just been a dream. JWS has always loved his wife. Giving the painting back to CSH means that SA gives up on her dream. She has come back to reality, she wished that CSH can get a new start (a happy marriage either with her boyfriend or with her ex-husband). Since she explains the whole situation to CSH later, from my point of view, she actually tries to help JWS in the end. They might get a new start, however this is too late. Moreover, JWS had hurt her with his action. Since she saw CSH with KJH at the gallery, she knows that her relationship with KJH is serious… that’s why I sense that SA’s gesture (offering the painting) illustrates her wish to redeem herself and to help CSH to find happiness and a new start in life. 

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