A luxury a young woman can’t afford.
What They Say:
Episode #7: “The Venetian Noble”
A noble from Venice visits Leo’s workshop with an offer of work for Arte, but it would mean she would have to leave Florence and Leo.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I wonder at the pace that Arte is adapting its source material. In this episode, everything in Arte’s life changes swiftly once again. She had just become comfortable in her life in Leo’s atelier, with the artist guild finally accepting her as an apprentice, and with friends and acquaintances in town. One of those acquaintances is another young woman that Arte is tutoring in reading. We’ve never met this girl before but she and Arte are fast friends when this episode begins, hence my question about pacing. How much of the source material is being left on the cutting room floor?
Things happen quickly in this episode. The mysterious blond nobleman we saw at the end of the previous episode approaches Arte with a proposition. He wants her to come work for him as both an artist and as a tutor for his niece. That would mean relocating to Venice. Arte is unsurprisingly taken aback by the offer and doesn’t know what to do.
At the same time, a pregnant woman arrives in town and visits Leo. Arte is surprised at her outgoing, easy nature around Leo and eventually learns what her relation to him is. As the daughter of his former master, she drops in for a visit. Yet she has problems of her own, as her husband had passed away and his family won’t return her dowery.
This grounds the story in a time and place and reminds us of the real stakes for a woman at the time. Childbirth was a dangerous business, and a woman was essentially the property of her husband or her father. Alone and with no male relative for support, her in-laws basically ignore her legal right to her own money. The mother in law goes so far as to toss her into the street. Arte witnesses this exchange at the same moment nobleman Yuri approaches Leo to speak with him about Arte.
Arte may want to build her skills as an artist and take more time to build her own reputation, but she would be turning down what amounts to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Others would kill for the opportunity at her fingertips. If she turns it down she might not get another shot at a chance like this. While Leo allows her to make her own decision, the lessons the women around her have imparted result in Arte changing her mind and accepting the position, with caveats.
Arte’s hesitation works out to her advantage. Yuri is plotting to get her to work for him one way or another but Arte cuts him off and makes her own deal. Arte remains an apprentice of Leo, and her work will be under his atelier banner. Plus, Arte only negotiates for a six-month contract, essentially, and arranged for Yuri to pulled strings to get Leo’s friend her dowery back. Not bad for a rookie. Now she just has to make sure she doesn’t end up like her namesake with this Yuri guy.
Arte continues to deliver some harsh reality to the budding idealist. Arte balks at an offer that comes along because she feels that it is a task which she is being handed not on her own merits, but on account of breeding. She has to make a decision which, in another manga, would be correct to turn down but in the context of where and when Arte is would be foolish to do so. Opportunity doesn’t come knocking every day. Yet it was smart of Arte to wait because she was able to shrewdly negotiate the best possible outcome for her, her master, and a few new friends. It will be interesting to see Arte thrust into yet another new situation.
Episode Grade: B
Streamed by: Funimation