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 4th part, I explained that the main character Baek Na-Kyum made multiple confessions during the first season. I listed three confessions: the one in the chapter 19/20, the other in the chapter 25 and the final one in the chapters 41/42. I made this discovery because I had noticed the similarities between the chapter 49 and 20/21 hence I created a list of all the parallels. Only then I recognized that we had the same ingredients in the chapter 25 and 41/42. This led me to the following conclusion. Each time, Byeonduck used all the same ingredients but she changed the chronology. However, I count 4 confessions in reality, as we shouldn’t forget that in the chapter 40, the painter attempts to confess his love but he is stopped by the scholar. He is finally realizing his “dream” only to get rejected and even abandoned. For the teacher, the low-born is so impure, he came from a brothel and will never leave this social status. So the love confession Baek Na-Kyum always dreamed of becomes a disaster. His dream turns into a nightmare. Therefore I will come back to this confession in this essay, although my main focus is a comparison of the painter’s confessions in the presence of Yoon Seungho.
Before comparing all these confession scenes to each other one more time, I am quoting the list again as a help for my readers.
- 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 prostitution/brothel
- The painter’s tears
- 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
The moment, I started contrasting all the confession scenes together, I perceived new aspects in the common denominators. Let’s examine the first point, the reason why the lord went to the painter’s study. Before, I stated that he went there (chapter 19/20) because he saw it as an opportunity to taste the innocent man. The powerful aristocrat had witnessed the quarrel between the scholar and the artist, he thought that he could now approach the low-born. However, thanks to the comparison, I came to another revelation hence I would like to include another cause for his visitation. From my point of view, he was also worried about Baek Na-Kyum. He knew that the man had stolen the expensive and very strong wine. Let’s not forget that he was accompanied by his loyal valet Kim. So there was a mixture of concern and lust. The reason why I adjoin care is that we have the same motivation in the chapter 41 and in the chapter 48/49. In both scenes, he is troubled by the painter’s behavior. In the chapter 41, he heard from the servants that the low-born had been working non-stop to the point that he was even skipping his meals.
Look at the protagonist’s face, when he asks the painter about the reason for his behavior.
He is definitely troubled to discover his “loved one” crying. He has to find the reason for his tears. And during the chapter 47, his submissive, resigned and passive attitude caught the master’s attention as well. He kept wondering why the low-born would apology. As you can see, care was always the trigger for his visit to the painter’s study. In the chapter 48, he wasn’t just angry. If fury had been his only motivation in the chapter 48, then he wouldn’t have contained his anger. Yet during the chapter 48, the master remained quite calm. He acted like a master or a client at a gisaeng house, yet he kept talking to the artist, pointing out the weirdness of his attitude. He kept asking why, just like in the chapter 41/42. Therefore I come to the conclusion that care and concern were the biggest motivations for the lord to visit the painter’s chamber. In other words, Seungho has never been cold-hearted, like some readers are still judging him.
Now, if you pay attention to the second confession (chapter 25), it doesn’t look like worry is the lord’s motivation. But here, let’s not forget that they meet at the pavilion and not at Baek Na-Kyum’s study. At the pavilion, Seungho’s motivation was desire. He wanted a renewal of their wedding night. He imagined that he would see a painting of their first intercourse, a proof of their “marriage” and make love again to the painter, so that he could experience the feeling of being loved again. We should remember that the lord experienced his own liberation at a pavilion too so this place signified a lot to him. He first became disappointed, then worried because the artist hadn’t remembered their night together. He feared that this wonderful night would disappear forever, would just remain a dream, an one-night stand and this was not what the master was longing. That’s why he said this: As you can see, the more the lord spent time at the pavilion, the more he became troubled. His despair and worry pushed him to make the wrong decision: force the painter to remember their wedding night so that he could claim Baek Na-Kyum as his “wife” and partner.
As you can observe, by contrasting all the confessions, we get new interpretations and a deeper insight on Yoon Seungho’s actions, for the latter is not very expressive. Only his gaze reveals his true thoughts and emotions but this is not enough. Just looking at the lord’s actions doesn’t really mirror the protagonist’s personality. Worry and care were all present in the confession scenes.
Moreover, if you compare the chronology of the wedding night with the last one, you can observe another divergence. In the chapter 20, the kisses marked the beginning of their wedding night, which is quite normal during a wedding night, while the kisses in the chapter 49 have a different meaning. Here, the kisses and the hug are a sign that the relationship between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum has improved, even deepened. They already had sex before, hence the kisses have another signification. In the chapter 20, Baek Na-Kyum was the only one hugging his partner while kissing. He wanted to make love, while the master was following his sexual desires or better said, that’s what he believed. I would like to remind that from my perspective, the noble was already in love with Baek Na-Kyum but didn’t recognize his own feelings as he had never introspected his emotions before. I even have the impression that he is still unaware of the depth of his feelings for the painter. In other words, in the episode 49, both main leads start making love. From my point of view, Yoon Seungho is making love to the artist, while the latter just perceives it as a sex session, as he doesn’t want to get hurt emotionally again. He prefers following his physical reactions, he is no longer repressing his unconscious. Yet, there is affection coming from the artist as he is someone with a big heart, like his erotic publications suggested. That’s why we have here again a combination of sex and love. This is understandable as the low-born doesn’t even grasp the true motivation behind his actions. His gestures are exuding love and affection and not just pure lust but since the painter doesn’t see his own actions in a mirror, he has the impression, he is only following his sexual desires. As a conclusion, the kisses in the chapter 49 mark the second phase of their intercourse, the love session.
We also had two stages during their first night. Back then, the master thought that he could have sex with the commoner finally hence his gestures were quite rough. He was just following his own interests and never paid any consideration for the painter. He was just looking for sex in his mind, but the moment he was told that his partner was a virgin, he was surprised. Nonetheless he was willing to change his behavior and became more gentle.
That’s why I come to the next topic, the presence of the brothel in all the confessions (20, 40, 41/42, 48/49). I would link to outline the importance of this aspect as the gisaeng house is associated to corruption and defilement. Since Yoon Seungho knew that the painter came from the gisaeng house, he imagined that he was not pure. He saw the images as a proof of his dirtiness. The paintings mirrored lewdness in his eyes, hence he thought that they would reflect the artist’s impurity. With this revelation (the commoner is a virgin), he recognizes that he somehow misunderstood the images. He just considered them as lewd, though in fact, they were beautiful as they are oozing naturalness and affection. The fact that the commoner was raised at a “filthy” place, yet remained pure, not just enhanced his virtue but also unveiled his innocence.
No wonder why the noble can’t let the painter go. Baek Na-Kyum embodies the opposite of his own life. While Yoon Seungho, due to his status as noble, was supposed to live in a world of virtue and honor, he experienced the opposite: treachery, dirty sex, corruption so that he ended up tainted and impure. The so called virtuous world of the nobility was in reality a filthy place. And that’s how he felt too and during their wedding night, he meets someone willing to accept him, a person who wanted to remain chaste out of love and fidelity. His words display honor and virtue, all the features that aristocrats should represent. This explains why the noble decides to take the painter as his wife in that moment. He sees him as worthy, Baek Na-Kyum is in fact the real noble person here. This explicates that the master doesn’t consider the social gap as a hindrance. Baek Na-Kyum has lived as a honorable and dignified person, unlike all the aristocrats Yoon Seungho has ever met. That’s why the marriage was important for the noble. It was, as if their union would clean the aristocrat from all the filth he experienced before. Right early on, I had associated their first night as a wedding night and the more I examine this manhwa, the more my interpretation is confirmed.
Strangely is that Jung In-Hun refused the painter because of his “dirtiness”, he preferred distancing himself from the commoner as he feared his “cleanliness” due to his title would be tarnished.
And in the last image, Baek Na-Kyum saw his own reflection in the teacher’s eyes, he was a prostitute. The glasses literally made him blind hence the painter could no longer consider himself as pure. However, I have the feeling that the scholar’s words will come to bite him because he will experience what Yoon Seungho went through in his past. He will discover how dirty and evil the nobility is. Jung In-Hun is already vicious, yet his arrogance makes him stupid and even naive. That’s the reason why in the chapter 42, the painter tried to act like a whore as he had accepted Jung In-Hun’s words and gaze as the truth.
That’s why the lord wasn’t even excited and suspected that Jung In-Hun had abused the artist’s innocence in order to obtain something. Striking is that later the noble gave in in that scene but he didn’t allow the artist to act like a whore. He ensured to please his “wife” and followed his advice. We could say that we have a reversed situation from the chapter 25. Back then, the noble used his right as husband to have sex with his “partner” and now, the painter was more or less cornered to act like a “spouse”, although the latter never perceived it that way. He just thought that he was judged as a prostitute. Let’s not forget that the master did follow all the painter’s requests in that scene. That’s why he kissed and hugged his lover so passionately, he wanted to comfort him so much but he failed to stop the painter’s heart from freezing. That’s why Baek Na-Kyum still judged himself as a whore after that night. And in the chapter 48/49, this time the manhwaphiles behold the lord acting like a real client at a brothel. He wants to provoke a physical and emotional reaction in the painter so that the latter finally leaves his state of shock. By playing this role, he wanted to make the commoner realize the harsh reality of a brothel and the real fate of prostitutes. He frightened the painter so much that the latter begged the lord to stop, to listen to his requests. However, this time he did succeed but still didn’t achieve his original goal: winning the painter’s heart. I am well aware that some readers are still thinking that Baek Na-Kyum hasn’t changed his view about himself. I have a different opinion because he is now the master of his own fate. For me, he has become a libertine, sure his negative opinion about himself is not entirely removed, yet he is now able to differentiate between his own interests and the ones from his partner, which he never did in the past. He imagined that Jung In-Hun’s interests were the same than his own hence he was willing to do anything for the scholar. He has finally realized his own existence so he is no longer the same person, a whore with no identity and desire. He is now creating his new life, making new rules.
Striking is that the painter’s origins are indeed a source of shame for Baek Na-Kyum and the image where Jung In-Hun expresses his disappointment “I thought you could be educated” explains why the painter had a low self-esteem concerning his social origins. He had no education. That’s the reason why he was attracted to the low noble in the first place. He met a person with some education that’s why we have now reached a crossroad for both characters. Yoon Seungho knows now why the painter behaved like that and in my opinion, he has already realized how he can solve this problem. The last image in the chapter 50 is already indicating that Yoon Seungho will become the “learned sir” Baek Na-Kyum has always wished. That’s the reason why the noble was only seen as a shadow. He hasn’t slipped into the role of the painter’s teacher yet. By giving him an education, the master will boost the commoner’s confidence so that Baek Na-Kyum can no longer deny his feelings for the lord. This will affect his perception about Yoon Seungho.
As you could see, the brothel play a huge part in all the confessions as it is connected to filth and corruption. Baek Na-Kyum hasn’t grasped that the protagonist fell in love with him due to his purity and innocence. Besides, he helped him to change his perception about himself (chapter 4, chapter 20). Through the erotic paintings and their wedding night, the noble has now regained his “virtue” hence he has become monogamous. He is a reformed man like the folks in town observed it.
Okay, that’s it for the 5th part. In the next part, I will keep comparing all the confession scenes again but I will examine this drawing more particularly.
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