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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This will be the final analysis about the chapter 46. While reading this episode, the final scene caught my attention. We see Baek Na-Kyum masturbating himself for the second time. When I saw this, I decided to compare it to the first masturbation in the chapter 9. By distinguishing the divergences, the manhwaphiles will be able to observe a progression or not. Yet I am glad that I decided to postpone this essay because the chapter 47 had an impact on this topic.
Now let’s go back to the first masturbation. (Chapter 9)
It happened right after a sex session, to be more precise, the artist had witnessed a threesome (chapter 9). The low-born couldn’t wait any longer hence he abruptly left the lord who wanted to see the new creation. (Chapter 9) Baek Na-Kyum excused himself with a lie, he would show him when the work would be finished. However, the true reason for his departure was his erection. Notice that he is using the paper to hide his erected phallus. He was also on his knees before, when Yoon Seungho approached him. The cause of his sexual urges is revealed with the following drawing. (Chapter 9) This drawing represents the painter’s perspective. As you can see, the painter’s eyes are focused on the lord’s hand touching the butt and anus. From my point of view, he is imaging the lord’s touching him. This time, the artist is conscious and can no longer repressed his sexual desires. Later, his gaze focuses on the other uke, the one penetrated by our main lead. Here, it is quite clear that the artist wishes that he had replaced Min. (Chapter 9) In both cases, the painter never painted the sex partners’ faces properly so that it would easier to imagine for him to switch places with them. All these zooms reveal the growing sexual desires. That’s why he feels the need to masturbate, as he can’t repress this urge any longer. This didn’t escape Yoon Seungho hence he couldn’t help himself smiling. (Chapter 9) Although the painter had been quite rude and left him behind, the lord wasn’t bothered. In fact, he was pleased that he had indeed affected the artist.
Remember what I said about this scene. The masturbation happens right behind the door, since he wants to hide his homosexuality. Notice that the man is on his knees and hiding his eyes with his arm. It was, as if the door was not enough, he is refusing to see himself masturbating. (Chapter 9) This position displays his denial about his sexual orientation. His body covers his phallus and his gesture. (Chapter 9) His eyes might be open but his spirit seems to be elsewhere. He is not really looking.Because the readers never see his gesture, they can not be certain. Hence Byeonduck had to draw a picture with his erected phallus showing his masturbation. Striking is that the moment he feels that he is about to climax, he closes his eyes. Here again, this reinforces the statement that Baek Na-Kyum is determined to refuse to face reality and deny his attraction for a man, for the noble. (Chapter 9) When the sperm comes out, it lands on the floor. This is quite important as it illustrates the artist’s attitude towards the semen. He considers it dirty and filthy hence he makes sure that his hand doesn’t get soiled. That’s how much he despises himself and his needs but he can no longer repress these urges. He prefers closing his eyes, masturbating behind a door and using his body to cover his filthy gesture so that no one can ever witness it. But he is too focused on his needs that he forgets that he is making noise so that Yoon Seungho knows what he is doing. At the end, you sense the low-born’s despair and disgusted attitude with his final position. (Chapter 9) The manhwaworms feel his strong refusal to admit his attraction towards the noble, his sexual arousal and his sexual desires towards Yoon Seungho. The painting had such an effect on him, it awoke his repressed sexual desires.
Now, if we look at the masturbation in the chapter 46, the manhwaphiles can detect the huge change. Now, he is no longer hiding his gesture with his body as he is lying on the floor on the side. (Chapter 46) However, he has still a position where it is still protected. If someone came from the side, they wouldn’t detect immediately what the low-born is doing. This can be explained that there is still some shame left but it is now related to his perception that homosexuality is a synonym for prostitution. That’s why he is still reserved. On the other hand, the semen doesn’t land on the floor but on his hand which shows that he no longer feels disgusted.(chapter 46) Some readers complained that he didn’t wash his hand before falling asleep. Yet what they failed to realize is that this proves that Baek Na-Kyum no longer perceives sperm as dirty and filthy. This symbolizes a huge step forwards. Now, if we compare the two masturbations, the readers will notice another huge divergence: the chronology of the drawings of Baek Na-Kyum with closed or opened eyes. In the chapter 9, we had first the painter with opened eyes as he was lost in his thoughts and the moment the ejaculation was about to come, he closed his eyes. Here, we have the opposite, first the closed eyes. (Chapter 46) The reason is simple: he is not lost in his thoughts, quite the contrary. All his thoughts are revolving around the master confirming the change of his attitude. He is no longer denying his attraction towards the noble. That’s why the author lets the manhwaphiles see the images he has in his mind. What caught my attention here is that the painter had visions of the moments, the lord made love to him. (chapter 42) (chapter 46) In the last picture, this happened right after the painter had made a sort of confession which triggered the lord to become more vigorous and passionate. This shows that he sensed the lord’s affection but he can’t define this as such yet.
Surprising is that the moment he feels the ejaculation, he opens his eyes. He is astonished by his reaction. (Chapter 46) The kiss triggered the climax indicating that the kiss, full of love and passion, moved him so much. He sensed the lord’s love stronger here. Since his eyes are wide-opened, it clearly shows that the man is actually facing reality. He is no longer hiding, running away from his sexual desires and admitting that his feelings towards Seungho have changed. Notice that this time, he even questioned himself for this reason. Why could such a kiss provoke such a reaction? He is now looking for an answer, he is no longer running away. He wants to discover the truth.
The final difference is that the painting was the trigger for Baek Na-Kyum to masturbate in the chapter 9, while here it is the opposite. The paper is still blank. However, the next morning he presents a new painting to the lord. So the masturbation and the memories with Yoon Seungho did trigger him to paint. In other words, Yoon Seungho inspired him. (Chapter 47) What caught my attention in the new drawing is that he didn’t select the memory we saw: (chapter 46) The low-born chose the position when the lord complained about the artist’s poor techniques. In this situation, it reflects the artist’s state of mind. Since he considers himself as a prostitute, he felt the need to choose such a position: The picture should mirror his actual situation (whore). That’s why the comment from Deok-Jae hurt the painter so much. He saw it as a confirmation. Besides, the lines in the painting seem uncertain and in the middle there are traces so that we feel Baek Na-Kyum’s lack of confidence and his hesitation. We have to imagine that he didn’t paint for some time.
However, I feel that despite this choice, the painting reflects the artist’s positive transformation. The size of the paper is bigger. Secondly the artist’s body is now as big and important as the noble’s. Both are in the center, while in the picture of Jung In-Hun’s inauguration, he was so small, even in the other drawings. (Chapter 41) Furthermore, his face is more defined. Now we are able to see his eyes, unlike in the past, where he had no face and as such no identity. This drawing symbolizes something important. Little by little, he is gaining a new identity. Therefore the readers shouldn’t judge this picture as something bad, even the noble was pleased. The painter created a new picture on his own (without any clear order from the seme) although it has become clear that the aristocrat no longer needs the pictures. For Seungho, it represented a huge step because the picture was bigger and more detailed than the former ones. He saw as a improvement of their relationship. Sure the artist had another reason for this picture. It was an attempt to be perceived as a painter and not just as a prostitute. But like I wrote in another analysis (Drawings and emotions, part 1), each picture reveals the commoner’s emotions and state of mind: a painter and a whore, yet he has eyes now. He is no longer denying his homosexuality.
That’s why I would like to conclude this essay with the following advice. Despise the pain and the sadness, try to notice the positive details in the future because so far in each chapter of the second season, I could perceive a progression, although the painter doesn’t feel like it. It is part of a painful process: maturing is never painless. The moment he will lose his innocence for good, he will become a man and will be able to face adversity. He just needs a guide to help him to go through this phases. Unlike Candide who had to find his dream in life on his own, Yoon Seungho will be by the painter’s side to protect him and give him a new goal in life. They both save each other.
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