Painter Of The Night: Hypotheses for the second season

A few weeks ago, a friend, whom I met through Internet because of Painter Of The Night, elaborated to me a theory she had developed through an observation. First, let me explain her theory:

In the chapter 4, Yoon Seungho discovers among the belongings of the painter the poem written by Jung In-Hun.

chapter 4: Yoon Seungho reading the poorly composed poem

If you pay attention to the paper, you’ll notice that its color is beige and quite plain. After reading it, the lord decided to keep it as he noticed that the young artist treated this poem as a treasure. By taking it away from the innocent man, the master ensured that Baek Na-Kyum wouldn’t run away again, as he had attempted in the chapter 4. But let’s go back to the quality of the paper: it is a beige piece of paper, looks rather ordinary. Since Jung In-Hun is a noble without huge means, he can’t use expensive paper like Yoon Seungho. The latter bought expensive papers for the painter. The high quality of this paper is even highlighted by Baek Na-Kyum in the chapter 2:

If you compare the paper from the chapter 4, you’ll notice that the paper used by Baek Na-Kyum has a lighter color and is marbled. The beholder can observe some strips on the piece of paper. Yet in the chapter 7, this is what Baek Na-Kyum receives after the arrival of his admired “learned sir”:

Notice that the paper is not plain beige, rather marbled like the one Baek Na-Kyum used for the erotic pictures. By comparing these two pieces of paper, we come to the conclusion that Yoon Seungho never returned the poem of Jung In-Hun. I sense that he hoped that the young artist would look at it and notice the difference. Like I mentioned above, this is not my own theory. However, from this conclusion, I came to the following thoughts.

We have two possibilities. Either our educated lord composed himself a poem or he copied the original poem from the famous poet which was more or less plagiarized by the “learned sir”. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter because in both cases, the result is the same. Yoon Seungho wanted to awake Baek Na-Kyum’s critical thinking and let him perceive the bad quality of the poem written by Jung In-Hun. Furthermore, his other goal was to get the painter’s attention and emphasize his own skills (if he composed himself a poem). I am more inclined to believe in the second possibility. Let us not forget that Baek Na-Kyum ridiculed the master by telling him that he was not literate enough to judge the quality of the poem. He had been described as a “man consumed by lust”. These words bothered the young master a lot because in the chapter 5, he rejected Jihwa as he couldn’t focus on him, still brooding over Baek Na-Kyum’s critic. But Baek Na-Kyum didn’t pay attention to the paper, since Jung In-Hun had arrived at the lord’s mansion. Due to his presence, the artist felt no longer the need to look at the poem in order to remember the “learned sir”.

Then at the end of the first season, we see how the young man still waits for the low noble with the painting of Jung In-Hun’s inauguration.

Yet, the learned sir has already left for the capital without saying goodbye to the young man which confirms one more time to Baek Na-Kyum the disdain Jung In-Hun has for him. That’s the moment where Baek Na-Kyum cuts ties with him, as he asks the loyal servant Kim to throw it away.

In this picture, the beholder can detect the light smile on Baek Na-Kyum’s face. He doesn’t look unhappy at all. This depicts Baek Na-Kyum’s relief in reality. He waited at the door out of respect but he had no feelings left for the “learned sir”. Baek Na-Kyum has always been polite and well-mannered, except in front of Yoon Seungho who made him lie and become upset.

Interesting is that Baek Na-Kyum doesn’t destroy or get rid of the picture himself but allows the nice servant to take care of it. This simple gesture demonstrates that the artist doesn’t value the low noble any longer. He is even not worthy that the painter has to destroy the image himself. Since the well-made painting has no sentimental value any longer, this leads me to the next assumption: Baek Na-Kyum would like to erase every souvenir and trace from the fake teacher.

So even after giving the picture to the domestic, Baek Na-Kyum still has the poem from Jung In-Hun therefore I can imagine that the moment Baek Na-Kyum returns to his chamber, he will look for it and want to get rid of it as well.

Chapter 44: He is on his way to his chamber.

However, what he doesn’t expect is to find a different paper. He never realized back then (chapter 7) that Yoon Seungho had given him something else, too happy to hear that the noble had been invited to the mansion.

Nonetheless, Baek Na-Kyum can barely read which was already implied in the chapter 6, when Jung In-Hun mentioned that he considered his duty as teacher a diversion. Then we discovered that he let the children play outdoors instead of studying in order to avoid them. Baek Na-Kyum’s low reading skills are confirmed in the chapter 40, where Baek Na-Kyum is not able to read the poster. What caught my attention here is the statement from the lord:

Chapter 40

In that scene, Baek Na-Kyum had just witnessed how a notice was glued to the wall and went closer. Yoon Seungho stopped him by calling him an illiterate person which the latter denied and tried to hide this issue.

Here, the artist is quite embarrassed by the lord’s declaration.

How could the lord be so sure that Baek Na-Kyum was illiterate? He never saw the young painter reading and in the chapter 6, Jung In-Hun even exclaimed that he was the one who taught the low-born how to write and read in order to highlight his competences.

I suspect that this statement could be related to the paper he returned in the chapter 7. He thought that Baek Na-Kyum would read it and realize the switch. Simultaneously, he even anticipated the artist’s reaction. The latter wouldn’t be able to hide his true thoughts because like Seungho stated, Baek Na-Kyum is so transparent. Maybe he even imagined that the artist would run to him and mention how beautiful the poem was. However nothing happened back then. That’s how the lord came to the conclusion that Baek Na-Kyum couldn’t read.

Nevertheless, I doubt that Yoon Seungho’s assumption was correct from this because the painter didn’t even observe that the quality of the paper had changed. Since his mind was distracted by the mere presence of the low noble, he didn’t simply look at the paper at all. He didn’t need to read the poem, since his “pure love” was next to him. I do believe that if Baek Na-Kyum had opened the paper, he would have noticed that the name was Yoon Seungho or the name from the famous poet. Like he said it, he can read a few characters.

Therefore I believe that Baek Na-Kyum will discover the switch in the next season (if this theory is correct) and read the poem. I am expecting that the paper contains a poem written by Yoon Seungho. That’s how the uke will start perceiving the master in a different light. I can imagine that Baek Na-Kyum might ask for Kim’s help in order to read the poem.

At some point, Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho will come closer because the lord will notice Baek Na-Kyum’s desire to be educated. He worshiped Jung In-Hun for his education hence he kept calling him “learned sir”. I also suspect that Baek Na-Kyum met the former teacher, when the former decided to learn to write and read, the moment he became successful with his painting. Since he was able to live from his publications, he was on the verge to raise his status and as such, he needed to be literate. I will go even further: Yoon Seungho will become his teacher. The reason for this assumption comes from two scenes:

– The chapter 6: Yoon Seungho despises the low noble for not teaching properly to the commoners’ children. During their whole conversation, the master was so sarcastic that he showed how much he disagreed with this mentality.

The mockery is truly visible in this drawing. This explicates that the main protagonist doesn’t share the same view.

– The chapter 40: My favorite character is reading the content of the notice to Baek Na-Kyum.

He doesn’t let the young man to receive help from a stranger, he wants the painter to rely on him. In other words, the young master will turn into his teacher because he likes being needed by the young man. Since I watched the interview with Byeonduck, where she said that she had thought about naming this manhwa “Pornography: a gay scandal in Joseon”, I couldn’t help myself connecting to this situation. Imagine the scandal: a low-born not only becomes the lover of a lord from the high nobility, but he also receives lessons from the lord as well. This would create waves! However, as time passes on, Baek Na-Kyum’s admiration for Yoon Seungho will increase. The latter won’t treat it as a diversion at all because his main goal is to obtain the painter’s affection. The more the master will take care of the painter, the more Baek Na-Kyum will fall for him.

But now let’s go back to the painting Baek Na-Kyum wanted to dispose of. Even the nice servant Kim could notice the dedication and beauty in it.

I doubt that Kim will keep it or destroy it. I suspect that Kim might give it to the lord. Either the latter decides to throw it away or to keep it. This painting illustrates the talent Baek Na-Kyum has. Seungho might keep it and at some point use it to support Baek Na-Kyum’s career. We shouldn’t forget that this work is not an erotic painting like the former ones. Baek Na-Kyum chose a different topic, something more noble and traditional. There I sense that this image could play a big role in Baek Na-Kyum’s life. We know for sure that the lord has connection to the Royal Academy. While out of jealousy and contempt, Jung In-Hun tried to stop the painter from raising in his social status by obligating him to give up on painting with the excuse that his pictures were vulgar and filthy, Yoon Seungho will do the opposite. And this shows two things. If Jung In-Hun had been so concerned about homosexuality, he could have asked the low-born to paint something else, like portrays. But no, he coerced the young man to abandon painting. IT also reveals Jung In-Hun’s lack of awareness and stubbornness. Since he is a low-born, he can not be born talented, whereas he, as a noble, is entitled to reach higher places. Therefore I am expecting that the moment Seungho supports Baek Na-Kyum with his power that Jung In-Hun will turn into a bitter and resentful man. All this would end up in a confrontation between Jung In-Hun and Baek Na-Kyum. Imagine: the reason why the latter’s talent was recognized was the painting of his inauguration!! Imagine the irony in this. If he had bid farewell to the uke, he would have received the picture and as such be able to hide the low-born’s talent. On the other hand, this would push the former teacher to become the ally of Yoon Seungho’s father. I sense that Seung-Won and Jung In-Hun will meet so that the low noble could end up helping the father.

Now, I am really curios if this theory and the following assumptions will turn into reality. The rivalry Jung In-Hun saw in the painter could become true… and at some point, the learned sir will try to eliminate the artist. So far, he still views him as tool, yet he is not aware that Baek Na-Kyum can no longer be taken advantage of like in the past. He is no longer his pawn.

Please feel free to comment. Push the button like if you enjoyed reading it (tweeter or wordpress) because this represents my reward. Thanks a lot!

8 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Hypotheses for the second season

  1. Your detailed analyses bring me happiness. Thank you so much for your work. I look forward to each and every one of your posts.
    I disagree with the theory regarding the paper texture/quality. I think it is unlikely that an artist would not recognize the quality or type of paper, even if distracted or upset, just as it would be unlikely that a designer would not feel the difference in authentic vs. synthetic fabric, or a silversmith holding metal vs. silver.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG I never would have noticed the difference in the quality of the paper if not for this post. I think it’s very possible that SH gave NKM a poem written by himself instead of the other one, since he’s been trying to get Nakyum on his side since the beginning.

    And the theory of Seungho becoming his teacher! I’m crossing my fingers for you to be right on that. Nakyum’s desire to be educated it’s so admirable and he truly deserves to be successful and have a better future ;^; ♡ great analysis!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Like always, I admire the attention you have for even the tiniest detail! I honestly hope SH will become his teacher. I also noticed how he read the notice for NK. I mean, if he truly didn’t care, and given that he’s a noble, what’s in it for him? But instead, he read it for him. During the same time, he also was asking NK: ‘ I simply do no understand why you would want to advance Jung Inhun’s career’. That line honestly made a huge impression one me that SH notices everything NK does, bc again, he’s so transparent and his actions show his genuine love for his learned sir. SH actually cares for NK and even wonders why he would try hard to help his ‘learned sir’ when SH knows the teacher was only using him.

        I really wanna see NK view SH as someone who actually lives up to his noble status i.e by teaching him how to read and write and everything inbetween. That would turn NK’s impression on him a good 360 degrees!

        also, I thought– in S2, I was wondering if Jihwa would really have NK killed? Or kidnapped? Any thought on that? Because damn he should know by now that even if Jihwa did hire an assassin to inflict harm on NK, and not he himself, SH would not be stupid enough to not know who did it :’D

        Liked by 1 person

      2. First thanks for the compliment! Yes, the noble pays a lot of attention to Baek Na-Kyum and the scene you mentioned outlines his selflessness. He is definitely more patient too. Just like he inquired through his servants what he did, while he was hunting, underlined one more time that he keeps thinking about him. I think too that Seungho will become his teacher. Both have something in common: they are quite sensitive. Seungho was pretty receptive the paintings but he also likes poetry. His collection for books shows his love for reading too. Seungho will discover really quickly who was behind the action. The question is more: What will he do? Will Min also be punished? He was the one who put the idea into Jihwa’s head. For me, Jihwa’s best punishment would be to lose his title as noble in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! Came across your essays on Twitter and I just had to let you know that your in-depth analyses add so much depth to the manga for me. I initially flippped through the manga very quickly and missed like… 95% of the symbols and recurring themes but after reading a few of your analyses, I found myself combing through every single panel and rediscovering an entire new dimension of meaning in the colours, the focal points and even the placement of the characters. I used to analyse works in my literature classes and always found so much joy in discovering hidden layers of meanings, so finding your insightful essays which discuss a manga that I really like, and opened my eyes to the details I missed, was like a dream come true! Also, I learnt so much more about the characters through your essays and I’m so glad I found you. I still haven’t finished reading every essay yet but so far, they all make sense and I’m enjoying your works. Thank you so much for making this manga a much more wonderful experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the compliment. Actually this one was written long before the new season started and in the meanwhile I even discovered new details and info. However this pleases me very much and I have to confess that since these analyses are well received I have found a new purpose: showing that many manhwas can be much more meaningful than they appear. Even Marquis de Sades’ work has a deeper message than sex.


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