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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The reason why I chose this title in the first place was quite simple: I noticed many parallels between the “wedding night” (chapters 20/21) and the chapters 48/49 since we had two confessions. Hence my goal was initially to compare both scenes in order to analyse both protagonists’ behavior and explain the evolution. Funny is that while writing the first part, I realized that the details I noticed kept adding up so that at the end my focus was different. Then it happened again with the second part. First, I just wanted to reply to people’s comments concerning about the prostitution and ended up writing something else. Nonetheless I never lost the focus on the title. In the first two parts, the confessions were always in the center of the analysis. However, now, you know what I am going to do: I’ll examine the two scenes mentioned above, outline the common denominators and their differences.
In the first instance, I’ll list the common points in both scenes:
- The noble’s visit in the painter’s study
- Yoon Seungho acting as someone else
- The painter’s confession
- Their kisses
- Seungho’s surprised gaze
- The two hugs
- The painter’s tears
- The prostitution/brothel
- Baek Na-Kyum’s position on the floor
- Seungho’s rough actions
- Seungho’s comments
- The presence of Jung In-Hun as a shadow
- The painter’s emotional heartache
- The mixture of love and sex session
Because of the high number of similarities, there is no ambiguity that Byeonduck wrote the chapter 49 based on the chapters 20/21 because in my opinion, she wanted to illustrate the progression of the relationship between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum and their problems, but also to outline Baek Na-Kyum’s transformation.
Let’s start with the first point. In the chapter 19/20, the noble visited the painter’s chamber in the hope, he could have sex with the artist, as he had witnessed the quarrel between Jung In-Hun and Baek Na-Kyum. He was in a good mood, because he saw an opportunity to finally get what he wanted for a long time. He imagined that due to the teacher’s rejection, the low-born would finally give up on his love so that he would turn to him. In other words, Yoon Seungho went there happy and thought, he might finally taste the painter. On the other hand, what he failed to recognize are the real motivation of this action and as such the true nature of his feelings for the artist. For me, he was already in love. I am well aware that many might disagree with this statement hence I’ll explain my points for this declaration.
First, I have often compared our intelligent protagonist to a dormant volcano because he was too passive, just looking out the window and smoking, if he hadn’t sex. For me, he had been living like a zombie, passive and disconnected to his own emotions, that’s why he had mood swings. As a conclusion, he just let his body take the lead. Now, you understand why both main leads are so compatible. Our main character allowed his body/soul express his emotions without reflecting on them. Hence he never tried to understand his feelings in the first place, too busy paying attention to his surroundings for a possible betrayal. Furthermore, unlike the painter, who often dreams (wet dreams) allowing him to perceive his unconscious, Yoon Seungho is suffering from insomnia hence his unconscious can never reveal his true repressed desires. Thirdly, he never saw his own gaze in a mirror, as he disliked his own image. Notice the absence of a mirror, each time he get dressed, while his butler is helping him getting dressed. The aristocrat saw himself as vulgar and filthy because of the sodomy that was imposed on him (see my essay about his past) and which he imposed on himself in order to hurt his family and deceive people. That’s why when he saw the first painting with him as model, he saw a new side of himself: sexy, attractive and confident.
In this scene he was surprised, pleased and even smiling. That’s the reason why at the pavilion, he could liberate himself from his hell created by the others’ gaze. (chapter 3) He finally came to love himself. However, he never realized that the gaze reflected his affection and fascination for the artist, as his eyes were directed at the creator and not at his sex partner Jihwa. (chapter 2) Moreover, the noble showed his true self, the moment he met Baek Na-Kyum for the first time. He was acting like a fan meeting his idol which is a sort of love. (chapter 1) He was smiling and happy, he was very genuine. All his actions in the beginning prove to me that he fell for the artist at first sight. His admiration for the painter’s work served as a good preparation and when he saw the painter’s face, he was already gone. Consequently I wrote the essay about Yoon Seungho’s weaknesses. He fell very hard for him, but never realized that, because he had lived for a long time without his heart. He had forgotten how to interpret emotions. This is the reason why he had a low EQ. And now, I can bring an evidence that this interpretation was correct. In the third season, the lord admits that his affection existed very early on. (chapter 91) Another reason why the lord couldn’t recognize his affection for Baek Na-Kyum was that the painter kept pushing him away. Thus he had no time to introspect himself and question his feelings. He was busy pondering how to convince the artist to work for him or to think about the image the commoner had about him: “a man consumed by lust” (chapter 5). Then from the beginning, he felt the need to touch him (chapter 1) (his talented hands, then his tears and eyes, his hair, etc.). (chapter 2) He also liked his ears, because he often whispered to the painter’s ears, although he first threatened him. The whispering is important, as it shows his need for closeness. This is not surprising why he whispered and licked his ears during the masturbation scene. Thus in the third season, we witness how the lord keep whispering to his lover in private (chapter 91) and in public (chapter 92) This truly exposes the protagonist’s true nature: he is delicate and sensitive.
The noble has never felt loved, since Jihwa never dared to confess. Besides observe how Seung-Won, the younger brother, and his father are only seeing the main lead as a tool or pawn for their own benefits. Therefore I come to conclusion that the seme couldn’t recognize love, as he has no experience with love. He had no idea about his true emotional state, only his butler Kim could perceive his love for the commoner. As he viewed Baek Na-Kyum’s talents and the creator’s publications could arouse emotions in him, it is important to realize that they had already connected through the paintings, both are very sensitive and emotional. All these are the reasons why I believe that Yoon Seungho already loved the painter right from the start. Let’s not forget that love exist under different forms (idol, child, husband, friend, sex partner… ) and the idea that true love is necessarily selfless is just an illusion. People can be selfish, therefore love can be selfish too. We have Jihwa as the best example. We can’t say that Jihwa doesn’t love his childhood friend, it is just that he chose his own interests first. Thereby it is definitely an unhealthy and superficial relationship. Besides, emotions never remain the same, they can evolve, deepen and become stronger or the reverse, love can turn into hatred and resent. Thus it is not surprising that the red-haired master’s love was full of reproaches, a mixture of love and resent. (chapter 57) Now, you can sense why I am writing this. The love Seungho had in the beginning has changed a lot, has deepened so much that he considers the painter as his wife, that he became monogamous and is even willing to get hurt, if it means that in the end, he can get closer to Baek Na-Kyum. His love for the low-born has transformed the man, (chapter 47) He is much more gentle and selfless compared to the way he behaved in the first season. I believe this long explication was necessary for the comparison.
Like I explained above, in the chapter 19/20 the aristocrat visited the painter’s chamber, because he hoped to have sex with him, unaware that he was already in love with the young man. In the chapter 49, his visit has another purpose. (chapter 48) He is actually upset, because Baek Na-Kyum still views him as a man consumed by lust and the former acts as a prostitute. the aristocrat did so many things for him (lowering himself in order to pleasure him, becoming monogamous, buying him expensive and warm clothes, treating him with respect, going to town with him etc.). But with the painter’s remark, it was as if the lord had done it, as he was expecting something in return!! Yes, the existence of a new deal, but contrary to the past, Yoon Seungho had never mentioned it explicitely. The reality was that Yoon Seungho had acted generously out of selflessness. He didn’t expect anything in return, maybe just his presence. Because of the silence between them, a misunderstanding occurred. Thus the lord felt so upset. It was, as if all his benevolence had never existed, as if the aristocrat had paid him like a whore.
What the noble couldn’t comprehend is the reason why he was deaf and blind to all his nice actions. Since the painter considered himself as a whore, he could only judge his sex partner as a man consumed by lust, because this is what a prostitute is supposed to do. Since the head-maid had convinced him that the noble cared for him (chapter 46), the painter felt somehow obliged to paint something… as you can see, he was trying to change the nature of their relationship. (chapter 47) He had been hired as a painter, but the lord had showed no real interest in the picture, it remained on the floor. Furthermore, he kept commenting about Baek Na-Kyum’s body (chapter 47) (his blushing and how thin he was). Thus the noble contributed to reinforce the painter’s prejudice. He was only interested in his body. Thus the artist jumped to the wrong conclusion: he was only a man consumed by lust. (chapter 48) Another misunderstanding was created. On the other hand the main lead got upset, for he realized that Baek Na-Kyum was perceiving him as man in a negative light and had denied the existence of his generosity. He realized that Baek Na-Kyum was acting like a prostitute. This explains why he got so mad. In reality, he just mixed the cause (the painter considering himself as a prostitute) with the consequence. Yet he noticed that Baek Na-Kyum was just an empty shell, hence he decided that he needed to take the bull by the horns. For me, the lord never went for sex in the first place, he just wanted to confirm his assumptions (Baek Na-Kyum acting as a whore). Thus he just ordered him to strip. You can sense the lord’s wound in his gaze. (chapter 48) His appearance is linked to his resolution to solve the issue. Since the painter didn’t understand the aristocrat’s pranks (chapter 48) and motivations, the latter had to change his strategy. This explicates why the lord isn’t rough right from the start. Sex was not the goal, but a tool in order to trigger reactions in the artist. He wanted to provoke fear and pain so that Baek Na-Kyum would drop his stuporous state. This was a new version of the scene in the bathroom: (chapter 26) He prefers the artist kicking than an empty shell. This is a huge difference: the value of sex has changed. Sex is no longer a goal (chapter 19/20), just a tool because the lord has learned to express his love through sex. He knows how to difference these two, as he learned it through the hard way, with the rape.
Striking is that in both scenes, the noble acted. During their wedding night, he took the role of Jung In-Hun and in the chapter 49, he is a client, a man consumed by lust who can do anything he wants and the prostitute has to follow the client’s wishes. (chapter 48) His true goal is to provoke a reaction in the artist. However, in the chapter 20, he hesitated before deciding to slip into the role, as he didn’t respond to the kiss immediately. (chapter 20) Yet, the manhwaphiles witness that Yoon Seungho’s mindset hasn’t changed one bit: the end justifies the means, deception can be used if it is necessary. What matters is to achieve his goal. However, during their first night, this role did him a disservice in a long term, because it helped the painter to find an excuse to deny the existence of their love session. From my point of view, the painter realized little by little that he was not facing his admired sir because in the following drawing the glasses are barely visible. (chapter 21) I interpret the way Byeonduck drew the glasses as if they are vanishing. That’s the reason why I state that the commoner was able to distinguish the disappearing of the glasses. The expensive wine had lowered the painter’s control body (conscious mind) so that the unconscious could finally be released. Here, the painter was expressing his inner deepest wish: making love to the person he was attracted to. Furthermore I consider the drawing above as a proof that the painter became aware of Yoon Seungho’s real presence. The artist could recognize Yoon Seungho by his lips and chin, let’s not forget that he is a detail-oriented painter who had both nobles as source of inspiration. Since the powerful lord was dishonest, then Baek Na-Kyum could also be insincere. The black in the pictures, corresponding to the artist’s eyelids, kept increasing symbolizing his denial of the reality. (chapter 21) It was, as if he was closing his eyes to his sex partner’s identity, choosing to follow his sexual desires which had been repressed for so long. Hence I come to the conclusion that during that night, the painter wasn’t entirely innocent and used the noble. Until the chapter 16, he had to fight against his sexual desires for Yoon Seungho. But he had to deny them and as time passed on, he was forced to hide them (see the masturbation in the chapter 9). So the scholar’s rejection and abandonment (chapter 19) not only pushed the painter to drink, but also to disregard the doctrine that had been imposed on him. I am not saying that Baek Na-Kyum had already realized the subterfuge right from the beginning. Yet it dawned on him as their sex session progressed. Once confronted in the pavilion, he could perfectly recall his love confession. Both main leads sinned during that night, hence they had to pay the price for their dishonesty: the rape and the rejection. But since in the study, the lord was selfless and even took the risk to jeopardize his relationship with the low-born, he got rewarded. The painter was finally accepting him as his sexual partner. (chapter 49) He was no longer a prostitute. This explicates why Kim had to intervene himself and reveal the incident in the library. (chapter 50) He needed to separate the couple. From my point of view, it is related to Deok-Jae’s insult. (chapter 47) Kim must have tattled on Deok-Jae to his master, faking that he was defending the painter’s best interests.
Striking is that in the chapter 49, there is still the presence of the scholar in the form of a flashback. Here again, the warmth and affection Yoon Seungho is exuding reminds the painter of the hug Jung In-Hun gave him. (chapter 29) Notice the parallels. In the chapter 49, Baek Na-Kyum is associating the gentle lord with the double-faced teacher, just like during their Wedding night. One more time, the scholar becomes a hindrance and is the reason why the painter refuses to open up to the main lead entirely. He won’t make the same mistake: sensing the warmth coming the main lead as something genuine and real. (chapter 49) He doesn’t want to get hurt and disappointed again. For the second time, Yoon Seungho “became” the teacher, however in that moment he is unaware of the painter’s thoughts. The other similarity is the closed eyes. Remember what I wrote about their first night, the painter was closing his eyelids to the reality, as he refused to admit what was happening. Here, when he hides his eyes, he remembers the scholar’s hug. By repeating the same action, he is making the same mistake: closing his eyes to the reality. He rejects the idea to perceive the lord’s hug and comfort as genuine. This outlines how it is now difficult for the artist to differentiate between seem and real. He has been terribly hurt. .
The painter’s heartache is palpable in both scenes. In the chapter 49, Baek Na-Kyum is keeping Yoon Seungho at a certain distance, as he doesn’t want to get hurt again. Therefore he confesses that their relationship is purely physical. (chapter 49)The lord will never be the object of his affection and admiration, since the painter’s pleasure will be in the center of their couple. (chapter 49) On the other hand, in the chapter 19, the agony was the cause for the painter to approach the noble and confess to him. He wanted closeness and love, the counterpart was the subject of his admiration and love.
Observe the other contrast: physical attraction-pleasure versus mental admiration-chaste love. The painter is doing the opposite from the past. He won’t love someone so purely, he will allow to become the object of physical pleasure and love. It becomes more obvious why the painter chose to make such a bold confession: he doesn’t want to make the same mistake, to fall for a double-faced man. The positive aspect is that the low-born is now respecting himself, he will allow his body to express his sexual desires and accept the pleasure during the intercourse. Nevertheless in both cases, the wound in the heart was the trigger for the artist to make a revelation. Yet their intention diverses. One is setting him free from the scholar’s doctrine, whereas the other revelation was just a subterfuge to release his frustrations, but to keep adhering to Jung In-Hun’s principles. However, the manhwalovers will detect that in both scenes, the painter is using Yoon Seungho. The latter is a tool in reality and in both scenes, the noble did accept this, since he accepted the kiss. (chapter 20) (chapter 49) Like the saying, the kiss sealed the deal.
Striking is that because the couple got separated, the painter was forced once again to question the purpose of his stay in the mansion. (chapter 51) If he was no longer his sexual partner, why didn’t the lord chase him away? Why was he allowed to stay in the mansion? Remember the head-maid’s words: (chapter 38) Maybe he is expecting him to paint for him. Thus he created a new erotic picture. From my point of view, the artist was slowly realizing that Yoon Seungho was indeed favoring him. (chapter 51) Unconsciously, the painter conclude the opposite of Deok-Jae. Under this new light, it becomes comprehensible why Baek Na-Kyum refused to leave the mansion. (chapter 53) He knew that this was not the main lead’s wish. And now, you comprehend why the artist didn’t paint so much in the second season. It was related to the lord’s interests.
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