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/
Yes, I chose this title because of the Russian short novel written by Leo Tolstoy. In this story, the rich land owner Vasili Andreyevich Brekhunov died by saving the servant’s life Nikita, because he realized that the low-born’s life was as worthy as any other man. Furthermore, he also got aware of his own selfishness, for he was responsible for their predicament. They were caught in a snow storm and the noble initially abandoned the peasant. However, at the end, the lord changed his mind and revealed another side from himself. This outlines that status is very superficial and the readers witness the master’s conversion leading a huge change in his behavior and thoughts towards commoners and low-born.
In the following analysis, we will examine the lord- low-born relationship between the nobles Yoon Seungho and Jung In-Hun and the commoner Baek Na-Kyum, when the latter becomes sick. All this was triggered because one of my followers asked me this: Why didn’t Seungho return home for days? From my point of view, the conversation between the nobles and Yoon Seungho, triggered by Min (chapter 33), forced the lord to realize that the artist was indeed a precious treasure, and he was not willing to share him. (chapter 33) At the same time, due to Black Heart’s words, the noble was reminded of the painter’s health conditions. Although the lord was talking about the artist, as though the latter was just an object, the reminder forced him to recall that Baek Na-Kyum was a human who could die. That’s why he returned in the end. His abandonment reflected his cowardice, he didn’t desire to be confronted with the consequences of his bad behavior. Consequently, just like in the Russian novel, the main lead was reminded that the low-born was just a human. As you can see, both characters had a similar disposition and also a change of heart.
Striking is that the butler tried to cover up his master’s cowardice and abandonment. He diverted Baek Na-Kyum’s attention by showing his concern for his master.
But before this, the servant Kim mentioned that the lord’s room was the best, as it was the warmest. (chapter 34) Kim’s remark was in fact insinuating that the lord had been very generous and caring for him. He gave the impression to the low-born that the noble was treating him like a noble, as the latter had sacrificed his bed for his recovery. However, this was not true, as the lord had brought the artist to the study before the doctor’s arrival. (chapter 33) At the same time, the butler was not entirely lying either. The lord had indeed shown generosity and care, since he had called for the physician. Yet, once he had heard about the doctor’s precription, the aristocrat had ran away from his responsibilities (chapter 33) and left everything in Kim’s hands. Remember my statement: Kim is always telling half-truths. Kim was in reality the one who brought him to the noble’s bed. (chapter 33) He needed to portray his master in a much more positive light in order to obtain the painter’s cooperation. The valet hoped that the artist would follow his order (chapter 34) and become the lord’s sex toy:
So in my opinion, while Yoon Seungho had indeed showed worries and benevolence towards the painter, he was relying on his right-hand, therefore he never came to verify if Baek Na-Kyum was recovering properly. The irony is that although the valet treated the painter as a honorable guest (bringing him to the lord’s chamber and taking care of him as if he was his master), in truth he was just viewing the low-born as an object and tool. was truly making sure that Baek Na-Kyum would get the best treatment, but the domestic used the opportunity to praise his master indirectly.
And now you understand why Yoon Seungho didn’t return to the mansion. First, he felt guilty, as he knew why the young man got so sick. His remorse were definitely bigger, as the artist could lose his life. He even heard the critic from the doctor.
His guilty conscience is actually visualized in the chapter 33. He has no erected phallus and looks exhausted. (chapter 33) While he was at the sex orgy, he remembered the exhausted young face of the painter, while they were talking about him.
The black coloring about the head is a sign for flashback and memory. We saw in another chapter that Byeonduck uses the color black to announce that this is a flashback. However, I feel that Yoon Seungho avoided his mansion because he was confused too. He wanted to find out if his “obsession” for the painter was related to sex. We shouldn’t forget that in the past, the lord used to go to such parties very often which is revealed during the chapter 33.
It becomes clear that the moment he slept with Baek Na-Kyum, he dropped off his visits there. Yet after the sex marathon, he started visiting the sex parties again. the relapse was a sign of his torment. But there are other explanations as well. He thought that going back to the sex parties could help him to lower his strong libido for the uke. He wasn’t sure if his urge for Baek Na-Kyum was caused by the lack of sex, as he had stopped going to these sex orgies or if it was related to something else, to the person itself. Furthermore, I believe that by going back to the sex orgies, he experienced that he was no longer interested in sex, but he was looking for something else. He wanted to be with the artist. And now, you comprehend the second relapse in chapter 51: The lord was suffering, but unlike in the past he couldn’t keep his distance from his lover. He needed to sense his presence. He was no longer his sex partner, but he wasn’t treated like an object or a servant. During these two separations, Yoon Seungho was full of worries for Baek Na-Kyum which he was trying to forget, yet he couldn’t. At the same time, he was reflecting on his past actions:
– Why did he force the man to sleep with him for so long and overlook his current state? What drove him to drop off his visits to the sex parties, when he used to go there very often?
I perceive the lord as someone who does think deeply, hence he wouldn’t be spending so much time in front of his window in general. From my point of view, Yoon Seungho had to introspect himself and was making sure despite his sense of guilt that his “obsession” or love for the painter was not related to his strong stamina but to his desire to share his thoughts with him. He wanted to have a true companion. Let us not forget that Yoon Seungho has never experienced love before and has never received love from his father. So he had no role model, hence he was confused and couldn’t recognize the true cause for his behavior. He didn’t know how to show love. So far, the world he grew up was full of treacherous and vain hypocrites where there is no love. Let us not forget that even Jihwa doesn’t reveal his love for him. Furthermore, his past made him experience sex without pleasure and even without love. However, the moment he met the painter, he could finally connect his sexual orientation with ecstasy. In the first season, without the painter he was experiencing if his “obsession” with the painter was related to sex or to something else. Like I had truly recognized, the noble had not realized the existence of his feelings for the commoner. I believe that he couldn’t name his affection as love due to his lack of knowledge. He was confusing his mind with his heart. There is no denial that he was already in love with Baek Na-Kyum, as the man affected him so much right from the start. The moment they met, he acted differently. Besides, love is never a constant feeling. It changes all the time. Moreover, there are different kind of love. He was attracted by the painter due to his paintings, then due to his face and gaze… little by little he fell for him. However, the lord never realized it, unlike his servant Kim. However, in my opinion, the butler only judged it as an obsession and not as love. He imagined that his master had fallen too deeply into sodomy (chapter 18) In my eyes, the butler’s cowardice is connected to the social norms. He had deeply internalized the social values from Joseon, hence he represents a reinforcement of authorities. As you can see, there are many explanations for his behavior: guilty conscience, out of concern, self-introspection… On the other hand, he is only partially running away from his responsibility, as he had asked the servant Kim to take care of the artist. This is why this “abandonment” stands in opposition to the scholar’s. The latter betrayed during the rape, as he didn’t intervene and acted as if nothing was happening. And the next day, he brought him back to the mansion and abandoned him by letting Yoon Seungho drag him to the bedchamber. At no moment, he tried to stop his sponsor. That’s why he remains invisible in chapter 32.
But if we look back at the first picture at the beginning, you’ll notice that Kim’s words are reflecting something else. (chapter 33) He was acting as a mediator between the master and the low-born which looks like a good thing. In reality, he was meddling in their relationship. Who was he to intervene? That’s why he acted like a father. With his words, the butler was implying that his lord had been affected by his illness, hence he remained away. However, I believe that in the valet’s mind, there existed a different explanation. For Kim, his master was just a coward. That’s why he said this comment in front of the physician: (chapter 33) He anticipated that his master was avoiding to face the consequences of his selfish behavior. For me, Kim doesn’t truly love his master. He views the Yoons as terrible, but he will never confront them. But for his own safety, he needed to deceive the painter. Let’s not forget that Kim had played a role in his escape and the low-born could reveal it to his master. That’s why he needed to fake his care and concern for the painter so that the artist wouldn’t mention the past. Thus he begged the young man not to wander around as a sign of care and gentleness.
Simultaneously, Kim needed to manipulate the painter so that the latter would realized that he had won Yoon Seungho’s trust. He desired to obtain his obedience. What appears as mediation was in reality manipulation, which would create misunderstandings. He hoped that Baek Na-Kyum wouldn’t go to the teacher’s side. He was well aware of his master’s jealousy. In other words, this scene revealed many important points:
– The lord might have been away but he thought about him and made sure that he would get the best treatment
– Yoon Seungho’s behavior has drastically changed, he hasn’t returned home hence there is something upsetting the lord
The loyal assistant is acting like the lord’s lawyer. And here, in the chapter 34, we can see the contrast with Jung In-Hun’s attitude. Baek Na-Kyum asked Kim about the teacher. Was he worried about him? Has he asked after him? Kim denied all of his questions which upset the young man.
That’s the reason why he cried in the bed, covering his face. His gesture revealed his pain, but it also indicated that he didn’t want to be confronted by reality. Kim showed him that his admired sir had abandoned him, but the artist was in denial. He only explained it as a lack of concern. He was veiling his face in front of the truth. On the other hand, this scene was important for another reason. It truly exposed the learned sir’s stupidity and blindness. Without the artist by his side, Jung In-Hun meant nothing to the protagonist. Note the contrast between the butler and the scholar’s attitude. The former had understood the artist’s importance, though he didn’t like it, while the learned sir seemed to be in denial. The low noble didn’t even imagine that Baek Na-Kyum could lose his life. Then if you compare both aristocrats, you’ll detect the huge difference. Although both nobles were away from him, one kept his distance out of concern and guilt, the other felt nothing. The words Kim said did affect the painter, he could sense that the powerful noble had been caring and kind. Kim’s words made sure that the low-born wouldn’t push away his master like in the past, and wouldn’t blame him for his sickness. At the same time, the butler was trying to “tame” Baek Na-Kyum.
And Yoon Seungho’s humbleness and selflessness was revealed with the kiss. (chapter 32) However, the valet Kim was not present, hence when he lied to Baek Na-Kyum, he had no idea that in reality his words were containing more truth than lies in reality. That’s why I chose the kiss as illustration for the analysis. The roles were switched. The master acted as a servant, and the low-born was now the lord. The male lead was acting like Vasili Andreyevich Brekhunov from the Russian novel. Yoon Seungho was even willing to give water to the exhausted man. This situation was repeated in chapter 76: (chapter 76). The lord made sure that the painter would feel better with the water. But let’s return our attention to chapter 33. In the bedchamber, the main lead was to blame for Baek Na-Kyum sickness, as he hadn’t paid attention to the artist’s condition. He had acted selfishly, exactly like the protagonist from Master and man. Both realized their huge mistakes, came to regret and took some responsibility, although the chronology in the Russian story diverges. But this shows that both aristocrats came to realize that commoners were humans and no possessions.
This is not surprising that In-Hun’s indifference and even selfishness hurt the young man more at the end. It was really visible in the next chapter. The young man had to hear that what Yoon Seungho did was not normal (chapter 35) and his preparations for the exam were more important than the painter’s life. (chapter 35) For the first time, Baek Na-Kyum could sense that Jung In-Hun was selfish and not kind. Moreover, he even reminded him that as a low-born the noble shouldn’t spend so much money for him. Indirectly, Jung In-Hun was telling him that if he had been Yoon Seungho, he would have done the opposite: not giving him the best room, not sending for the physician and not spending so much money for the medicine. In that chapter, Baek Na-Kyum could finally see glimpses of Jung In-Hun’s true personality. Therefore I think that the servant’s words did influence the young man, he didn’t blame and resent the noble for his condition. He saw the caring gestures, although he was absent… whereas Jung In-Hun was absent due to his own interest. (chapter 35) Here, the low-born’s head is down which indicates a certain resignation and pain. While the one did change his behavior and showed a new side to the young painter, the other remained indifferent. The caress on the cheek could no longer mask the learned sir’s lack of concern and selfishness. (chapter 35) No wonder that after his departure, the artist was disappointed and heartbroken.
To sum up, one aristocrat felt remorse and guilt, hence he tried to redeem himself by taking care of the artist to his own detriment, he even left the mansion for days, the other acted like usually. Here, we can see some similarities between Yoon Seungho and Vasili Andreyevich Brekhunov. Both are able to feel empathy. Baek Na-Kyum started seeing the powerful master’s caring side. Due to Kim’s words, he thought that the lord even sacrificed his own comfort and health for the young man… just like the Russian land owner sacrificed his life for Nikita, the peasant. The chapters 34 and 35 are important, because they marked a turning point in Baek Na-Kyum’s life. The perfect image that Jung In-Hun had been able to create was starting showing cracks. Little by little, the painter could sense that his relationship with the teacher was defined by his status, while Yoon Seungho’s behavior made him realize that he was not treating him like a low-born, but like a human. This explains why later Baek Na-Kyum lied to the teacher for the first time. The lord had showed him his vulnerable side and had even let him stay by his side, when the brother visited him. The artist felt the learned sir’s lack of empathy and concern for him and his selfishness. In his eyes, he was just a low-born, and Baek Na-Kyum could already sense it. Therefore he lied.
But let us not forget that he still hoped that the servant Kim had not told the truth, hence he went to the teacher in order to get confirmation. Yoon Seungho’s conversion was also visible, because after his return, he spent the whole night thinking how he could improve his relationship with the artist. And notice that from the chapter 36 on, he started lowering himself in front of the painter literally and figuratively. The blow-job in this chapter
contrasted so much to the blow-job in the chapter 28.
Their places had been switched: the low-born had become the master. First, the noble acted like a master with the soft punishment (chapter 36), until he saw the painter’s erection. He was willing to give up his position as master. That’s why he prioritizes the painter’s pleasure all the time. (chapter 36) So their relationship master-servant stopped at this moment, hence he lets him stay by his side, when the brother Seung-Won is in his chamber.(chapter 37) Notice that his position had changed. He was sitting by the lord’s side. He even asked the artist to sleep by his side and let him stay in his bed without waking him up the next morning. As you can observe, the characters’ position illustrated their actual position in their relationship. When Baek Na-Kyum woke up the next morning, he was alone in the bedchamber. The lord preferred to leave his bed and eat elsewhere. In other words, Kim’s words from chapter 33 became a reality. He let him rest in his bed. Yoon Seungho showed so much consideration that in the chapter 39, he even went to the kitchen in order to fetch the low-born. (chapter 38) He didn’t even send his loyal assistant. He had become the “servant” himself. In other words, we witnessed the lord’s slow conversion during the chapter 36 and the small changes from that moment. The nature of their relationship had changed, hence he claimed Baek Na-Kyum as his bride unconsciously. (chapter 40) So both characters, Yoon Seungho and Vasili Andreyevich Brekhunov transformed into a different person, more selfless and caring. They were willing to sacrifice things for them: status and pride. On the other hand, the nature of Baek Na-Kyum’s relationship with the teacher changed for the worse: from a teacher to a student, it became a lord-servant relationship, and the painter sensed the change of their relationship. But let us not forget: Jung In-Hun never considered the young man as a student, for him he had always been a low-born. It is just that he was so good to deceive the commoner.
And these observations in the first season were confirmed in the second season. The only difference is that this switch of social position from chapter 33 on was more momentary. The lord still viewed himself as a noble, he never realized his transformation. Yet in chapter 71, the noble chose to confirm the change of status: (chapter 71) Baek NA-Kyum was no longer a low-born, but a noble, while the main lead was his “servant”. This explicates why the noble was no longer asking for him in the evening (chapter 74) and visited him secretly during the night. But this switch of position didn’t remain a secret, the moment the lord embraced his panicked lover. (chapter 76) At the end of the second season, the lord’s true personality is more and more unveiled: he has a kind and generous heart, and he is able to reflect on his wrongdoings, which contrasts to Jung In-Hun. And now, you can comprehend why right from the start, I was fascinated by the infamous sodomite. The first season let us see glimpses of his warmth and selflessness. This means, the noble’s courage and strength will shine more and more.
As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho is a figure that resembles the noble Valmont from the “Dangerous Liaisons” and the land owner Vasili Andreyevich Brekhunov from “Master and man”, a man full of redemption despite his sins. As you can see, from a simple question “Why didn’t he return to the mansion?”, it became an analysis about master and servant and the transformation of Yoon Seungho.
And here again, I could use a classic story for an inspiration and comparison which shows how well written this manhwa is.
Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My instagram-tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.