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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In the second part, I explained how the weather, the season and the landscape represented the painter’s state of mind and emotions (agony, emptiness). Now, it is time to focus on the time and the moon. Why? First, the title of this manhwa is “Painter Of The Night” indicating that the time has its importance. With night, we associate the moon and as for the day the sun. So I looked for the images with the moon in it. Thanks to the help of my followers, I could gather all the drawings where the moon was displayed. Before showing them in their chronology so that we can figure out if the drawings with the moon have a deeper meaning like the weather and the season, I have to say that if I analysed each picture separately, my interpretation would diverge each time, yet my goal is to find an explication valid for all the pictures illustrating the moon. Let me give you an example.
episode 1 Here, the full moon seems so far away, Yoon Seungho’s mansion is almost illustrated in its entity. My first thought was that the full moon personified Baek Na-Kyum and the latter is so far away from the powerful noble as they have not met yet. The sky is so dark (almost black) due to the light glowing of the moon. It was as if the noble’s world was full of darkness and his future meeting with the painter represents his only joy and hope in life. He is so eager to have the painter by his side and to have the artist painted for him. The mansion is so big, indicating his wealth and power, however it feels so big and empty at the same time. It was as if his domain was not a real home. The light coming through the windows doesn’t exude warmth, the beholder feels a certain coldness as there is nobody outside the building. So this image could be judged as an illustration of the main lead’s world: dark, cold, empty, lonely and lifeless.
But with this interpretation, I have some problem, when it comes to the picture from the episode 13. First, why is this a crescent moon unlike in the first image? Did the painter lose something hence he is no longer complete? Secondly, there is no building and the moon seems to glow stronger as the sky is lighter. If the moon is the painter and the sky Seungho’s world, how come that the moon is glowing stronger because even if the painter had felt excited before, he was still resisting the noble’s advances and attraction? Furthermore, in this chapter he is threatened by the master. Then we see no mansion, while we saw the roof in the image from the chapter 4. Why is there no building portrayed here? That’s why I saw it as a necessity to find an explanation that would fit to all the pictures. Hence I would like to show all the images in their chronology so that we can figure out if the drawings with the moon have a deeper meaning like the weather and the season.
episode 4 (the end)
The first thing people would pay attention to is the form of the moon: full or crescent moon and try to recognize if there is an evolution. But as you can see, the full moon is only in the first chapter, the episode 34 and the episode 43. So on the surface, we can’t see any progression. Honestly, I had to ponder a very long time before coming up with a solution. Like always, I would like to repeat that this is my own interpretation and anyone is more than welcome to think differently. Now, you are wondering about my theory.
Let me explain how I came up with this. What caught my attention is that Jung In-Hun is never meeting the painter during the night. In the chapters 19 and 24, it was sunset and rather early evening as they were on their way back to the mansion. We could even say that the scholar has always met the low-born during the day (chapter 7, 10, 22, 29, 35, 38, 40). Hence I came to associate the scholar to the sun which led me to the next thought. If the sun represents Jung In-Hun, then the moon must symbolize the main lead Yoon Seungho. Let’s not forget that this manhwa is entitled: Painter Of The Night. In other words, this could be seen as a synonym for “Painter of Yoon Seungho”. Furthermore I had already linked the main lead to an eagle, so the moon with the dark sky are elements embodying him.
I also observed two details before the form of the moon: its distance and the color of the sky. In the first picture, the sky is so black indicating that Seungho is not really living, while the moon shines so far away. Hence we could comment that the lord is so far away from people that he lives detached from everything. That’s why he has no pangs of conscience, when he announces that someone might die if the painter rejects his offer. I often compared him to a zombie due to his passivity. The night is the only time when he appears to be really active in the beginning. Notice that he meets the painter for the first time during the night(chapter 1), then he asked the artist to paint the next night. In my opinion, Yoon Seungho didn’t interact much with people during the day, as he was rather smoking and looking through his window. Therefore his appearance at Lee Jihwa’s mansion was something extraordinary. He couldn’t even wait for the next night which the red-haired noticed. Let’s not forget that this man is suffering from insomnia so he can’t sleep during the night. That’s why I have the impression that the moon and the dark sky are personifying the protagonist.
The other element is the distance of the moon. It seems to get closer (episode 4, 13) but then the distance increases again in the chapter 25. This coincides with his relationship with the painter, the closer he gets to the artist, the closer the moon shines in the drawings. Since the rape occurs in the chapter 25, it is normal that the moon is so distanced. That’s why in the chapter 46, we can observe the peak of their own intimacy. (chapter 46) This fits their actual situation. The lord heard a sort of confession and now the painter is not allowed to eat with the servants. His status has been elevated. However one might object to this conclusion because of the full moon in the chapter 43. Here the satellite seems to be further away, yet they are sleeping together. I can refute this argument because of the presence of the building. Here, the pavilion belongs to another noble hence the moon and the sky looks darker. The color of the sky mirrors the main lead’s feelings. He feels nothing for Jihwa and the other aristocrats, nevertheless, his affection keeps increasing from the chapter 4 and 13. [By the way, I doubt that in this picture above the building belongs to Yoon Seungho. For me, it could be a building in the street, while Jihwa is on his way to his friend, the aristocrat with the mole.] Even in the chapter 25, the sky is not so dark compared to the one from the chapter 1. We know that despite the rape, the lord was already in love with the painter. My thought is that while the lord is personified by the moon and the night sky, the painter is present in these drawings too. He is embodied by something as well: the mansion, especially the roof.
I came up with this idea since Bak Na-Kyum is longing for a home, for a family. In the first chapter, the mansion appears so big because Baek Na-Kyum only perceives the main character as a powerful and infamous lord. However, due to his attraction to the noble, his perception changes a little. The part of the roof becomes bigger each time, as if the artist’s place and influence were increasing. (episode 4); (episode 32);(episode 34);(episode 46)
Little by little, he starts owning more of the roof (even the walls). Observe that the snow is now covering the roof. That’s why we have the pavilion shown in his entity in the chapter 25. This represents the low-born who was raped. The building doesn’t have any wall, this is a fake house, not a real home. Yet one might argue that in the chapter 13, there was no building. So why? Remember that this is connected to the characters appearing in the chapter. In the episode 13, Jihwa enters the lord’s chamber right after this image. Baek Na-Kyum is not even present yet. However, the moon is closer and the color of the sky is lighter, blue. This illustrates the noble’s feelings and attraction to the commoner. We shouldn’t forget that during this night, he already has the intention to ask the low-born to join them in their sex session. He has already decided to taste the artist.
My other evidence that the moon and the building are personifying our main leads is the picture from the chapter 21. We never saw the moon during that night and the sky looked so bright. It was as if the moon was looking down on the building, while the noble is embracing and kissing the painter. This night was particular because it never looked like a real night… a mixture of day and night, giving the illusion of a different time. That represents the “dream”, something special is happening right now. The lord has discovered love and warmth hence the light of the moon seems warmer and closer. This was just an illusion and the reality came back in the chapter 25. However, although the moon is further away, the sky is not so dark compared to the one from the chapter 4. It is related to the growing feelings of the lord. He might have done something wrong, yet he did it because he wanted to obtain the artist’s heart believing that once he uses force, the low-born will surrender. Yet he failed with this stupid move. The forced rape created a riff between the two main leads.
Now, it is about time to explain why we have a full and crescent moon. In my opinion, this has something to do with his wishes. In the first chapter, he hears that the servant discovered the painter’s identity and he is about to get his wish fulfilled. In the chapter 34 , he has just realized that he can’t stay away from the painter, he really loves him and he can’t give him to others. It’s his “wife” hence he needs to return to Bak Na-Kyum’s side hoping that the painter might not resent him for risking his life out of selfishness (sex marathon). He granted the painter’s wish to leave his bedroom as he saw no real rejection coming from the commoner. Yoon Seungho never heard any harsh criticism after entering his bedchamber. Hence there is hope for him. On the other hand, there is this huge distance between the roof and the moon. Yoon Seungho has no idea how to reconnect with the painter after the sex marathon therefore he ponders the whole night about it. He knows what he really needs and wants and has to crack up his brain to come up with a solution. Hence during the night in the chapter 43, there is another full moon. The painter asked him to have sex together, for the lord this was as if his deepest wish had been fulfilled. They are together. But soon after he realizes that his sex sessions don’t bring him what he has been longing: love. Hence there is a crescent moon again. (chapter 46) He is missing warmth, yet the “confession” did affect the lord so much that the glow coming from the moon appears warmer. This represents the lord’s feelings, he is getting closer and closer to the painter… and to the building.
In my opinion, the artist is the “earth”, as the house symbolizes the painter. That’s why we have Jung In-Hun as the sun, since the Earth rotates around the sun. Since the sun abandoned the Earth, the painter’s heart is frozen. For Yoon Seungho is the moon, the painter was never able to notice it as it is not so visible during the day. We all know that the moon is a satellite of the Earth. Now, the painter is able to see that there is another planet circulating around him. Yoon Seungho has caught his attention, therefore he is no longer looking at the sun. In reality, Jung In-Hun is a fake sun, while Baek Na-Kyum thought, he was looking at the real sun… it was a fake source of warmth, an illusion.
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