This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.
In the previous essay, I explained the reasons why the painter chose to produce another work. His masturbation did incite his creativity, while simultaneously he felt obliged so that he wouldn’t be perceived just as a prostitute. Yet the result of his picture displayed a lot his state of mind, including positive and negative changes. With only this drawing, I was able to underline the importance of the motivations behind the painter’s action. Striking is that the question “why” seems to be in the center of the chapter 47 (it already started in the previous chapter). First, we have different people asking directly such a question: “why?” Others are not using the question mark so obviously, however their questions or remarks let perceive that they are wondering about the motivation behind the comments or behavior, like for example Yoon Seungho. Let me show you an example. After the appearance of the maids, the painter stands up, when he hears that they will prepare new rice for him. The aristocrat witnesses how the artist stands up and wants to leave the room. The noble is wondering about the painter’s reaction: Why would he feel the need to go to the kitchen? Why would he stand up? The lord’s words (“you are no servant”) are the proof that he overheard the whole conversation between the maids and the painter in the kitchen and only intervened, when they were criticizing him. This shows that the lord got aware that the painter’s position was unwelcome by his staff. He had the feeling that they would somehow bully, consequently he intervened. At the same time, he decided to make sure that the painter would have a different status so that the domestics would treat the artist better: his personal warning and the new clothes. So now, he sees the low-born acting as if he was a servant, a “scullery boy” which surprises him. He can’t imagine such a change. Why is he acting like a scullery boy, whereas he was so adamant about his status: he is no servant. What provoked the transformation? Now, you understand the topic of this essay. In this analysis, I will examine the pictures and events under this aspect (why?) and question the intentions of the characters and the author behind their actions, conversation and the pictures.
First, let’s talk about the drawings. Striking in that chapter, Byeonduck chose to alternate between distant and close takings. Even in different drawings, the gaze is not revealed or even half-cut. We have even a blank image with just a comment. And you know, each picture has a meaning. From my perspective, the alternation between close and distant takings is used in order to underline the protagonist Yoon Seungho’s feelings but at the same time to unveil his desire to hide his vulnerability. It was, as if the author wanted to respect the noble’s shyness so that he is able to hide his gaze, to keep his mask as someone who has everything under his control. Let me give you an example. Notice that here the noble is expressing his emotions towards the painter. Yoon Seungho likes Baek Na-Kyum for his honest and innocent reactions (his blushing, while observing the lord getting dressed). The master is happy to witness that he is able to evoke the painter’s reddening, while in the past he could only observe this reaction caused by the scholar. So this puts him in a good mood therefore he can’t restrain himself and expresses his pleasure. Yet the readers, just like the painter, are not able to see the lord’s gaze. While the painter is facing his back, the author didn’t draw his face. This is deliberate. In this picture, the manhwalovers are indirectly asked to imagine the lord’s gaze. It was, as if the creator wanted to help the protagonist to hide his weakness, to respect his privacy. As you can observe, only the valet Kim is able to see the protagonist’s eyes, while making the knot. This outlines how much the main lead trusts the butler. But right after, we have a distant taking: In this drawing, the lord is expressing his wish to eat with the painter. But he doesn’t make it too obvious hence he is more or less asking a rhetorical question to which the domestic replies with an affirmation. Here, we have a scheming lord, he is not voicing his desire directly. Why? He is hiding his true intentions therefore he is able to look at the artist. His words are his shield to hide his true inclination. As you can observe, the alternation between the close and distant takings is relevant because it was if the author was helping the protagonist to hide his vulnerability. On the other hand, it shows that the lord is still on his guard. Moreover, the picture also illustrates the huge gap between the aristocrat and the low-born. The latter is on his knees with his head down, a sign of submission and resignation, while the other is standing. What brought them together (the erotic paintings) is now representing a barrier and creating a gap between them. He is just a painter and not a lover. That’s why I would recommend my followers and readers to treat each picture as a drawing and question the intentions of Byeonduck with the picture. Not only this image reflects the actual situation felt by the painter, but also this portrays how the lord is not entirely trusting the painter. He is only revealing his true thoughts in a straightforward manner, when he is not looking at Baek Na-Kyum.
The invisible question mark “why” is also present with the following picture. While Yoon Seungho is teasing the artist, he is actually wondering why the low-born created this unfinished painting. He noticed that the image was somehow lacking, the lines unclear and there are traces in the middle. So the ironical question “You have some place to be, I assume?” shows that the noble is wondering why the commoner did such a drawing, sensing that there is something lacking. Here, the aristocrat is in fact expressing his surprise. Besides, he adds that he never expected a picture (first remark). Like I mentioned it before, Yoon Seungho is no longer interested in the erotic paintings but in the painter. This conversation reflects his interest and care for the artist. On the other hand, the readers are deprived of the painter and lord’s face. There is a reason for that. Here, Lord Seungho is again revealing his true emotions towards the low-born but attempts to diminish or disguise this behind his teasing. Note that the lord is not inquiring the painter directly. He never asks openly: “Why did you paint such an image so quickly and so early, when it is not perfect?” But he is indeed showing that he cares for Baek Na-Kyum, that he is interested in the reason for this unfinished work. Remember that in the past, the commoner would even ask the lord to wait until the painting is finished (chapter 9). Here, we have the exact opposite. In other words, the zoom on the food had a purpose. IT helped the noble to inquire about the cause for this lacking work, he showed his interest and a certain weakness, while he tried to mask this behind his teasing. And now we have a distant taking again revealing the distance created by the ironical remarks. The irony is that Baek Na-Kyum is so naive that he doesn’t perceive the true meaning of these comments and answer so honestly. He can not leave the place without the aristocrat. The lord might be able to veil his weakness, but in reality he fails to realize that his schemes are not helping his cause. The more he hides his love for the painter, the more lonely and depressed the artist is. This creates a distance between them because the noble is not really straightforward and frank with him.
As you can detect, the way Byeonduck used the alternation of close and distant taking is relevant. It mirrors their actual positions: the distance but also Yoon Seungho’s longing for getting close to the painter but the fear to reveal too much of his dependency on him.
That’s it for tonight. I continue tomorrow.
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