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/
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After reading the title, you are probably thinking that this analysis will be about his tragic past. But no… not really, as my focus will be what makes the lord happy and unhappy. As you know, weakness can be negative or positive, like for example chocolate is my weakness and as such many weaknesses are connected to the low-born. Thus I chose different scenes as illustration for my affirmations concerning this topic.
Right from the start, we can observe how Baek Na-Kyum’s face become Seungho’s first and important weakness. He is literally glued to the painter’s face, in particular his hair and his eyes. That’s why in chapter 1, the noble is willing to lower himself and touch his face the moment he sees the painter crying.
Look how gentle and caring he is in this situation, although they have just met. He acts in a similar manner in chapter 26 after the forced sex. He doesn’t like it, when the painter is crying so much.
Here he does show some concern again with the same tenderness. Moreover, the image of the painter’s face full of tears (from the chapter 1) left a deep impression on the main lead so that while having sex with Jihwa at the pavilion, he remembers the artist’s visage. (chapter 3). Fact is that he is so drawn to his face that he can’t help himself to caress the lips or cheek (e. g. chapter 12)
or the hair (chapter 16)
(chapter 35). As you can observe, the master is so attracted by the painter’s beautiful head and face that he always looks at him and even feels the need to touch him. Furthermore, the seme made sure that the commoner would keep his pretty visage without a scar that’s why the former asked Kim to put the ointment directly on his lips after the straw mat beating. This signifies that he even ordered medicine for a simple commoner outlining that Seungho was willing to do anything as he was attracted to his face. And let us not forget that this happened before the seme and the uke made love. The obsession for his face is also confirmed directly by the noble, when in the chapter 31, the protagonist declares that he knows that Baek Na-Kyum has been attracted to him.
This is a proof that his eyes were literally fixed on the artist all the time, even when he was having sex with others. I sense that the eyes are the biggest attraction for the main lead which I will explain further later.
I believe that beauty is not just the only explanation for his fascination. Baek Na-Kyum is so transparent which the noble feels refreshing. Despite the lies and the insolence, Yoon Seungho is capable to perceive the young man’s innocence. Everything in him is exuding sincerity. However, even if the low-born is so easy to read, as time passed on, he becomes the biggest puzzle to solve. Even at some point, Seungho has reached the point that he has to admit that he can’t win this guy over. Imagine, the powerful and fearless lord was almost defeated by such a pure commoner. Why does he find his transparency so interesting? It is related to the world and society he grew up with. All the nobles we saw are or were scheming and manipulative. His so called friends like Min made the “suggestion” to Jihwa to kill the “lover” and the red-haired noble Jihwa played a trick on Baek Na-Kyum by damaging a painting. Then the teacher Jung In-Hun is so fake that he copied more or less a poem from a famous poet and finally his own father betrayed him too. He experienced treachery from his closest relative hence he mistrusts nobility generally. That’s why he doesn’t care about standard morals and etiquette as they are fake. Yoon Seungho is very cautious with people from the same social status, since he has got used to their fakings and schemes. The lord had already felt the naturality and genuineness in those paintings, then he experienced it again with the painter. The latter stands in opposition to the nobles Seungho mingles.
But the lord is not just weak in front of the artist’s face, eyes and his purity, he has a softness for his reddening and tears. Unlike Jihwa who hides his feelings and thoughts behind his closed eyes, his smiles and his rude remarks, Seungho is able to see honest and natural emotions on someone’s face for the first time. As you can observe, the facial expressions are another reason why Seungho fell for the genuine artist. He is able to see that Baek Na-Kyum can’t control his emotions and thoughts. For the first time, our seme is confronted with real emotions through the facial expressions and the gaze. And it definitely helps him to reconnect to his own feelings which had been repressed for so long. Therefore as the story evolves, the more expressions the lord is able to make: he smiles more (chapter 12)/ (chapter 35), his eyes are shining or if he is so angry, his gaze gets so dark.
It was as if his eyes became weapons so that he would kill someone with them. (chapter 30). The beholder is witnessing more and more expressions coming from the lord, while he was so detached in the beginning, when he was sitting in his room looking out of the window. Through Baek Na-Kyum, our seme learns to discover his inner emotions, that’s why we can say that the uke serves as a mirror unconsciously. The eyes were definitely working as a mirror. Baek Na-Kyum showed his sadness, true desires, anger, happiness and thankfulness… a full range of different emotions. But our seme needed to learn how to control them as he had not been used to feel anything for a long time.
But let’s return to the observation mentioned above. Seungho falls for Baek Na-Kyum’s blushing. Each time, he sees the man reddening because of him, he is happy or feels better, just like in the chapter 35.
Although he was terribly fatigued, he couldn’t restrain himself from smiling, when he saw (chapter 35) the painter’s reaction. I could use the scene in chapter 39 as another example. In that scene below, he hears from the low-born that he is blushing because of him.
That’s why he starts teasing him. So this blushing is first connected to his face and secondly to his honesty, which reinforces the idea that the face as such plays a huge part in his falling in love.
The other weakness is that simple words coming from Baek Na-Kyum have a great impact on the protagonist. He is so affected by his comments that he behaves differently. First, he is truly bothered by Baek Na-Kyum’s critic, when the latter reminded him that he was just a man consumed by lust. (chapter 5) Hence he can’t even have sex with Jihwa the same day. Let us not forget that these words were told the day before and the noble had not taken these too seriously. However, this time the critic is not said because the uke is upset but because he is serious. During their exchange, the low-born is trying to say the opposite: he is not a man consumed by lust. So he is lying, yet as I mentioned before, the lies are so transparent that they are no real lies. In other words, the uke didn’t realize that he was in reality reproaching the man to be obsessed with sex. The innocent reminder did the trick. Seungho has now something to think deeply.
Then we have this terrible scene in the bathroom (chapter 26), where Baek Na-Kyum is brutally honest with the lord. While the latter tried to put the blame on the artist that everything happened, because he had accepted the proposal and mistaken him for the teacher, then the low-born replies with such a honesty that Seungho can no longer hide from the truth:
He dares to tell the tyrannical master that he is the one responsible and deep down, the lord knows that he is right. Remember that he didn’t respond to the kiss immediately in chapter 20. Look now how shocked the noble is. His honesty makes it impossible to reply. He is left speechless. No one has ever dared to be so frank and he knows that deep down he can not deny it. Then Baek Na-Kyum yells at him how much he hates him.
This triggers the lord to grab his sword and announce him that he is about to kill someone.
He doesn’t even need to give the identity of the future victim. As you can observe, Baek Na-Kyum’s words have such a power over the lord. He can’t help but react to these reproaches or critics. If we compare this confrontation to the one with Jihwa, we can perceive a huge difference. Seungho is always able to reply and even have the final words, whereas it is not the case with Baek Na-Kyum. And in each time, the painter’s gaze played a huge part in it. Here, he could see the hatred reflecting in these eyes and he couldn’t bear looking at them any longer. He had no response to this harsh reply. Then the most important scene where the beholder can witness the power of Baek Na-Kyum’ s words is in chapter 41. While crying, he begs the lord to leave him alone. He uses the imperative twice so he acts as if he has the upper hand. He gets so upset that he ends up yelling at him.
Furthermore, with his words he is rejecting the lord’s presence. However, Seungho kept holding his hand and forced the young man to show his face because he wanted to see his eyes and facial expressions. Pay attention to the first facial expression when he observes the painter crying.
He is honestly worried and must feel the urge to console him. That’s why he wants to look at the painter’s face because he knows that his facial expressions will reveal the cause of his distress that’s why he refused to listen to him. Here, he acts like a lover full of concern for the painter. However, the way he is rejected upsets the master. I believe the slap was triggered for two reasons. Until chapter 41, we always saw the protagonist being very lenient towards the uke’s boldness. By reminding him of his status, Baek Na-Kyum can’t push the man away. As you see, he used the slap as a way to stay by the painter’s side. Furthermore the reproach Baek Na-Kyum expressed that he did everything he wanted. He was following his order: he painted as requested. However, Seungho was no longer interested in the paintings. He is longing for the commoner’s love. So here again, the noble is reminded of their actual situation. The painter is just an employee hired by him. The words Baek Na-Kyum screamed provoked a certain reaction: he used his status in order to be able not to follow the painter’s wish, besides the uke’s words did reflect the truth. They had a master-servant relationship. On the other hand, the lord wanted to comfort him in the beginning, until he saw the picture of In-Hun and comes to a different conclusion. He believes initially that it is related to the departure of the teacher, then that the painter has been asked to sleep with the lord on In-Hun’s request.
The other weakness is Baek Na-Kyum’s erection. The rich man is desperate to be the cause of his erection. Hence he tries to stimulate him in chapter 31.
The expression “for me” at the end of the sentence emphasizes the expectation of the noble. He wants to be the cause of his sexual desires. Now, you can understand why the lord was so happy to see that the commoner had an erection because of him in the chapter 36. We all know that the real trigger for his erection is the aphrodisiac but if he hadn’t been sexually aroused by the lord before, I doubt that this would have ever happened.
That’s why he is smiling with this erection. He is still careful in this chapter because he knows about the weak constitution of painter but he is very insecure about Baek Na-Kyum. He has no idea how he could improve their relationship. So the erection helps him to provoke pleasure in his sex partner. He knows that it is important for the uke to feel ecstasy so that he will be accepted as his partner.
In other words, Baek Na-Kyum seems to be his weakness: his face, his eyes, his facial expressions, his words and his genuineness are the causes why he fell hard for the painter. But this is not the end. The protagonist has other weaknesses which were revealed in the first season: the shaking hand, the nightmare and the insomnia. They are all mostly related to his family and past. Striking is that only Baek Na-Kyum is able to witness all these reactions. He saw the exhausted face in the chapter 35, (chapter 35) indicating a certain lack of sleep, then the shaking hand with the fist,
while the lord was talking in a confident manner in front of his brother Seung-Won. He is definitely hurt by the request from his brother because he is reminded of his own past. Yet he can’t reveal anything: his own suffering and what really happened back then. He has to suppress everything and the shaking hand with the fist outlines the resent and frustration. Finally, he asks the young man to sleep with him. He hugs him in his sleep, however he seems to suffer from a nightmare.
Yet he has to hide all of this in front of his servants and other nobles because this could be used against him. He is not allowed to reveal his vulnerability. I come to the conclusion that his hidden vulnerability represents another weakness.
Yet, though the painter has become the biggest weakness for Yoon Seungho who fell in love with him, I believe that he will become his biggest strength. Yoon Seungho will be forced to leave his lethargy behind and even to meddle with politics and officials, since Baek Na-Kyum has been able to evoke true protective instincts. Therefore the weaknesses I listed above are actually positive aspects. All of this proves the deepness of the master’s affection. This is not just a physical relationship.
On the other hand, it seems that the lord’s vulnerability will be one of the reasons for Baek Ny-Kyum to fall in love with the lord. First, he was already attracted to him right from the start. Secondly, he noticed the straightforwardness of the lord. He never deceived him (even with the warnings and the blackmail) so that at some point he even started listening to his words. Because of him, he starts questioning the teacher’s true intentions. He has finally accepted to be by Yoon Seungho’s side. I also think that in the second season, Baek Na-Kyum will discover new sides from the lord: his intelligence and education. I am even expecting that Yoon Seungho teachs the uke himself how to read and write so that he can be called “learned sir” and replaces the teacher totally.