This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents: https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/
For the first time, I’ll analyse a manhwa and this under different aspects. Just like in my other essays, this is not a summary of the story written and drawn by Byeonduck. A manhwa is the korean version of a manga. The huge difference between the manga and the manhwa is that the latter are usually in colors. “The painter of the night” caught my interest not just because of the beautiful drawings but because of the depth of the story. The characters are well-written. Actually, I just hope that after reading this post, your interest will be picked so that you want to start to read the manhwa.
If we pay attention to the first chapter, when Yoon Seungho, a wealthy and influential lord, and Baek Na-Kyum, a painter of erotic books about sodomy, met for the first time, we will realize that right from the start the painter already occupies a huge place in the lord’s mind and heart.
The moment Baek Na-Kyum confirms his identity, you can observe a huge change in the lord’s behavior.
Seungho turns into an innocent and enthusiastic noble which contrasts so much to the introduction of the young lord in an earlier scene. In the beginning of the first chapter, the young lord was taking care of his sword while talking to his domestic. In this scene, he already announced that someone would get killed. As conclusion, the lord was introduced as a distant, indifferent, serious and cold-hearted master. When he meets the young painter, we see not only a smiling Seungho, but also a warm and touchy lord. He grabs the painter’s hands and treats them as treasure, although he was quite rough. It’s because he can’t restrain his admiration.
He sees Baek Na-Kyum as a talented painter, he even doesn’t care if the painter was caught drunk and if he is a low-born. The contrast between Seungho’s two different behaviors reinforces the impression that he has a very high esteem for the author of the paintings. His respect for the young man goes further. He even lets the painter touch his loins, which represents a very intimate part.
Imagine, a noble lets a low-born touch his penis right after their first meeting. If Jihwa, a sex partner in love with Yoon Seungho, had been there, he would have been shocked. As you can see, their first meeting outlines that the painter has a special place in his mind and heart. But so far, he is only moved by his works. Yet, this emotional meeting ends very abruptly as BNK denies to the creator of these paintings. And in one moment, the noble’s mood switched to the opposite… as much as he was enthusiastic, as much as he becomes ruthless and heartless. He kills a servant in front of the painter. He can’t risk to kill Baek Na-Kyum because if it is revealed later that he had lied, then he wouldn’t never get any new pictures. And this illustrates the huge value the paintings have in Seungho’s heart.
Pay attention to the gaze of the protagonist. His eyes are showing his true feelings: anger, frustration, determination but also harshness. Imagine that his friendly attitude towards the painter was genuine but Baek Na-Kyum refused to tell him the truth. The dishonesty of the artist truly upsets the young master. Let us not forget that Seungho went so far to pay a visit to the painter, even he even sat down next to him. As you can see, the lord already lowered himself so much and the result for all this was a lie and insincerity. Let us not forget that Yoon Seungho is not someone who will usually visit other nobles. As conclusion, right from the start Seungho’s actions and behavior revealed how much the creator of the paintings meant to him. I mean, he could have sent someone to fetch the artist but he didn’t. He will do anything to get the creator by his side… it was, as if he couldn’t live without the painter any longer. For one year, BNK didn’t paint anything and it shows that Seungho needed new paintings from the author and searched for him desperately. I have the impression that he realized that the paintings were not enough any longer. He needed the painter by his side. I even suspect that BNK’s paintings had somehow become an addiction for the lord. This addiction is somehow insinuated in the following picture:
Then let us not forget that Seungho has an erection, when he meets his idol and we shouldn’t forget that Jihwa said later that he usually needed to prepare Seungho. So the mere presence of his idol has an effect on his body, Seungho is touchy and smiling… and keeps looking into BNK’s eyes the whole time.
Now let us focus on Baek Na-Kyum’s behavior. The first thoughts coming to the author are the rumors about Seungho’s bad reputation. He is unable to perceive the honesty coming from the young lord, just like the genuineness in the compliments. It was as if he was deaf and blind. In fact, there is an explication for this behavior. He has gotten used to the falsehood coming from the teacher Jung In-Hun. The painter has not learnt to perceive deception from honesty and frankness. The teacher’s manipulations and brainwashing are the cause for his mistake.
Due to these observations, I can’t help myself comparing BNK’s adoration for his teacher In Hun with Seungho’s admiration for BNK. Seungho acts the same way in this scene than BNK who adores his teacher. However, there is a huge difference… Seungho reveals that he is also physically attracted by the painter… his works and his presence affect his body, while the painter’s adoration for In-Hun remains very pure. It was, as if BNK would worship an idol and the mere touch would tarnish his idol.
And this explains why Seungho gets more and more upset and so jealous of In Hun. Imagine, your own idol ignores your compliment (“These are the talented hands”) and even shows no respect for you (he lies, he tries to touch the lord in order to get back the poem, he wants to run away twice). BNK even blushes by the mere thought of In Hun, whereas BNK shows no such reaction for Seungho in the beginning. Our seme was definitely happy to see BNK getting an erection or blushing more and more often, as Seungho had all these reactions (more or less: Seungho never blushes) right from the start. Finally, his hope that his idol will acknowledge him seems to come true.
And this also gives us a clue why Seungho was so determined to be painted by BNK. Imagine, you are the source of the inspiration of your idol. As a fan, you would be so happy. But this also explains why he even wanted to have BNK portrayed with him,
as time passed on. Then it is like a selfie nowadays, where a fan wants to be in the same picture than his idol. And to have a sexual relationship with an idol represents the highlight for a fan…
Sure, Seungho is not just a fan… he has fallen in love with Baek Na-Kyum for real, as he got to know the painter. More importantly, Seungho’s heart was deeply moved by their first night together. I believe that BNK’s love confession touched his heart:
– “I pine for you Sir”
The fact that he preserved his virginity for his loved one was a huge surprise for Seungho. Imagine, your idol tells you such words… it was always what Seungho had wanted. However, this scene is bittersweet, as the lord knew that he was not the real recipient of this love confession. That’s why Seungho had been longing to renew this night but this time, Seungho would receive love, respect and admiration from his idol. This is the reason why Seungho waited so patiently. He showed care and respect towards the painter hoping that BNK would realize this and show the same respect and admiration. But it never happened. Only in front of Baek Na-Kyum, the lord showed his real true self: his sincerity was there, when they met. He showed so many different emotions in front of the painter.
As conclusion, Yoon Seungho showed right from the beginning that he could be sincere and warm. At the same time, the first episode reveals that the painter is already able to awaken so many emotions in Yoon Seungho: happiness, admiration, anger, frustration and even sexual desires. The lord could no longer hide behind his harshness and indifference. On the other hand, we see that Baek Na-KYum can’t see this nice and genuine side of the young master, too blinded by Jung In-Hun faked smile and by his manipulations. So even at the end of the first season, Baek Na-Kyum has not really realized how deeply Seungho has fallen in love with him. So I am expecting in the second season that Baek Na-Kyum will little by little discover Seungho’s true personality and simultaneously perceive his love.
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