Painter Of The Night: Spirituality and sensuality

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 this essay, I would like to elaborate why it is taking so long for our two main leads to recognize their love for each other. I have to confess that I only realized it after composing “The spirit and the shadow”.

Now I know why exactly Yoon Seungho fell so deeply for the painter. All this started with Baek Na-Kyum’s first confession. All this time he has been hoping to hear the same words from the painter but this time really addressed to him and not to Jung In-Hun. Sure, you’ll say that so far, this is nothing new. Nevertheless, we need to examine the painter’s first love confession again.

Back then, the love declaration revolved around respect and admiration indicating that the artist loved the scholar spiritually. Since the lord considered himself as a spirit until the chapter 49, no wonder these words must have moved his heart. The irony is that the painter was in reality longing for sensuality. He desired a physical love as the admiration was not fulfilling enough. Moreover, Jung In-Hun kept pushing him away. In other words, the low-born confessed because he longed for warmth and love and felt the need for sensuality. The spiritual love he continued clinging on till the chapter 20 kept hurting him as it was actually one-sided. Besides this spiritual admiration couldn’t satisfy the low-born entirely as his repressed sexual desires hadn’t been removed completely. Due to Jung In-Hun’s rejection in the chapter 19, the painter chose to look for sensuality in order to ease the pain. Yet, the spiritual love was still present.

From my point of view, Baek Na-Kyum moved the lord’s mind and heart with his confession, unaware that with these words, the lord’s heart had started beating again for real. However, the lord didn’t realize the change in him. So when Yoon Seungho heard the confession, he hesitated for one instant and accepted the confession. The lord imagined that he would just get the opportunity to taste the man. Yet, the moment the painter kissed and hugged him, the lord discovered sensuality but couldn’t notice the difference right away. He was still under the impression that he was just a spirit. He imagined that this would be like another “sex session” hence he became impatient and rough towards the painter..

With this signification, it becomes understandable why their first night felt so different for the lord. There existed someone who could feel respect and admiration for him, something he had never witnessed before. First, he is known as an infamous sodomite and hell-raiser. Even his best childhood friend Jihwa never considered him as a spiritual or intellectual man and I am quite sure that the protagonist knew about it. Deep down, he was well aware that his childhood friend only saw him as a . For the readers, it becomes more comprehensible why he told his friend he knew nothing about him. Yet for the first time, he met someone different… the painter was honest and so easy to understand, yet so difficult to control. All this time, he was sexually attracted by the painter but since in his eyes, he was just a spirit, he imagined that he felt the same way with Baek Na-Kyum. In his mind, the painter was just like the other men he had met.

Nevertheless in that chamber, he discovered that the painter was a spiritual being too. Furthermore to his surprise, he heard that the low-born had remained a virgin, the symbol of purity and chastity, showing how much he valued the teacher spiritually. It showed how strong-willed the painter was, as he had been raised in a brothel. He never fell into temptation, that’s why the noble could only fall for him. The painter was spiritually strong and since he viewed himself as a spirit, he could only choose him as his partner. As a conclusion, he saw in the painter a kindred spirit.

However, the longer they interacted together, the more the lord discovered sensuality. The warmth and love coming from the painter’s gestures could only touch his heart, therefore during that night he became a man of flesh and blood as his heart started beating again. That’s why he is able to show such a tenderness and affection. He could never do it before as he was just a spirit. In other words, the spirituality got replaced with sensuality. While the lord thought, he was still a spirit, he didn’t notice the transformation. Furthermore he didn’t forget that the painter was spiritually attracted by a man. This could only reinforce the lord’s confusion. At the same time, the sex was no longer a fight but a sign of love and warmth. Therefore the lord had no idea how to differentiate love, sex, spirituality and sensuality, since he couldn’t distinguish spirit and body. This explains why he is as confused as the painter until the chapter 53. He only saw himself as a spirit until the chapter 49 and hoped to be loved for his mind and not his body. On the other hand, he had experienced sensuality thinking that this was spirituality.

Consequently Yoon Seungho had been waiting for the renewal of a love confession at the pavilion. Yet, not only he was rejected but he had to witness how the painter would hate him and keep admiring the scholar. Imagine, Baek Na-Kyum would even defend the low noble at any cost. No wonder that Yoon Seungho got so jealous and mad to the point he wanted to kill Jung In-Hun as he knew how fake the low noble was. Because the protagonist still viewed himself as a spirit and intellectual, he couldn’t understand the painter’s adoration for the scholar. The powerful noble knew that he had more knowledge and could even perceive people’s nature very well, yet he was unable to get the painter’s admiration. Imagine the humiliation. The young man fell for Jung In-Hun’s deceptions all the time.

The first confession also explains why the main lead confused the mind with the heart. Baek Na-Kyum never said “I love you” right from the start, he only did it much later and since the painter had spoken about adoration and respect, the noble thought, the painter was still speaking about the mind and not the heart. As you can observe, it makes sense why it took the noble so long to discover that his heart was the reason behind all his actions and not his mind. He had been misled by the painter’s confession as well. Finally, this also explicates why the aristocrat decided in the chapter 49 to drop his perception as a spirit as he felt, he would never get anything from the painter, except the physical relationship. At least, the painter had accepted him as his partner, it was better than anything else. Thereby he decided to lower his expectations. Since he couldn’t get the same respect or admiration, then he should be satisfied to get the physical affection. In this picture, it becomes obvious that sharing what is on their mind is an allusion of their first night together.

We all know that all the sex sessions with the painter were an attempt of Yoon Seungho to relive their first night, to feel the sensuality and affection experienced during their first night. Yet, since he had no idea he was longing for the painter’s heart as he saw himself as a spirit, this is not surprising that the lord could never confess or never tell him what he wanted exactly.

The origins for the confusion between the heart and the mind is not only result of the lord’s philosophy but also the painter’s coercive persuasion. The latter had been forced to transform the physical love into a spiritual one due to the doctrine the scholar imposed on him. In other words, the painter’s thinking contributed to this misconception. At the same time, Baek Na-Kyum had been pressured to ignore his own heart, his mind had to control his body and as such his heart therefore he got confused himself. Since both were disconnected to their heart, they were no longer able to make the difference between the mind and the heart. And Yoon Seungho couldn’t even help the painter in that aspect. He was lost as well.

Jung In-Hun even brought more confusion when he compared the painter to a prostitute. The sensuality the latter had just accepted was turned into a perversion. He could no longer feel any admiration and respect for anyone as he saw himself as a nobody. While the lord thought, he had finally won the battle in the chapter 44, he kept waiting for a renewal, kept criticizing the painter for his passivity and lack of passion. He wanted to feel the painter’s admiration again but as time passed on, he realized that the sex between them wasn’t like he desired. Since he was a spirit and mistook his heart for his mind, he couldn’t voice exactly what he was missing as he had no idea what he really desired. This also explains why he replies this to the painter, when he is interrogated to the reason for his care: He is pained all the time, as he keeps missing something but he can’t tell him why. He can’t even say that his heart is hurting all the time, hoping to hear the admiration the painter expressed in his bedroom during their first night. Many readers kept wondering why he didn’t confess here. He couldn’t as he was still viewing himself as a spirit, although he had already become a man made of flesh and blood a long time ago but he had no idea about it. He had never realized his own transformation. This picture really reveals the lord’s illusion. He still believes that his mind is ruling his life and that his decision to just accept the painter as his sex partner will satisfy his need and longing. However, the reality is different. The hanbok he wears the next morning reveals that his heart is already bleeding and deep down he is hurting again. What he imagined, his mind was still ruling his life was no longer true. He had become a man a long time ago and his last decision could only hurt him even more. On the other hand, with his confrontation, he helped the painter to abandon the scholar’s doctrine for good so that he could finally liberate himself and become a free spirit. From that moment, he made his own choice, accepted his homosexuality and his relationship with Yoon Seungho. But in that moment, he also decided to ignore his heart due to the bad experience made with Jung In-Hun. He got scared that the warmth he felt with Yoon Seungho was fake so he made up his mind that he should keep his distance from the lord. He could only have a physical relationship with the protagonist. The painter made the mistake to still mistrust his body and indirectly his heart. Because of this decision, he wounded Yoon Seungho again.

Since the powerful master had never realized his transformation, he could never recognize the existence of his heart. Furthermore he kept thinking that all his choices were made by his mind, because he had continued seeing himself as a spirit for a long time. That’s why he kept looking for a spiritual love but he couldn’t get it as he kept having sex with the painter. This reinforced the artist’s misconception about the noble: he could only consider him as a man of lust. Yoon Seungho’s “obsession” for spiritual love could never become concrete because their encounters were revolving around sex. On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that right from the start the painter was longing unconsciously for more than just spirituality. Deep down, he hoped for sensuality too. In reality, both protagonists were longing for the same thing, love… but since the noble viewed himself as a spirit and the other was forced to only admit spiritual adoration, they could never say what they were both looking and expecting. However, the more Baek Na-Kyum experienced sensuality with the main lead, the more the artist felt the lord’s love. Hence he had these memories where the lord expressed his love. Consequently he started expecting something else from the lord. That’s the reason why he asked the lord why he treated him so well. Later he kept wondering why he felt hurt, when he saw his lord kiss another man and he didn’t pay attention to his painting.

Striking is that in the chapter 53, for the first time the lord could feel the painter’s affection in the hug. In my other analysis, I even described that the hug helped him to transform from a shadow into a man. But there is more to it. Unlike in the past, the painter remained by the lord’s side. He keeps hugging the man, although the servant has already walked away from them. There is no need for the painter to keep embracing the lord like that. Yet, he does it because he wants to comfort the man. He has sensed the pain in the gestures. So for the first time, the embrace is linked to affection but it is also disconnected to sex. There is only warmth and love without sex. And this is important as it helps them to see that they mean more to each other. This explains why the noble is tender again and wants to remove carefully the white band. Their love has finally come true. They hug each other without feeling the need to express sexual desires. This was also another source for their misunderstanding. The lord had never received an embrace outside their intercourses. The only hug he received in the past occurred in the chapter 26 and it was to save Jung In-Hun. Baek Na-Kyum didn’t hug the noble for solace and comfort but it was for someone else.

In my opinion, the painter could be the one confessing his feelings first. We shouldn’t forget that unlike the master, the artist has already admitted that he felt his heart racing in the lord’s presence. In other words, he has never seen himself as a spirit but has always acknowledged the existence of his heart. Secondly, he is questioning the reason for his sadness due to the lord’s actions. He is the one who keeps asking “why” (chapter 46, 47, 52). Finally, he only rejected the lord in the chapter 49 because he got scared that this warmth was just an illusion. He didn’t want to fall into the same trap and get wounded again. And more importantly, he has a positive and forgiving nature. He didn’t really resent the noble for the kiss, he didn’t cry, when he got expelled at the door. He was sad but not furious at Yoon Seungho. Moreover, he got to hear from Min that the lord liked him. And this is the second person telling him that the lord cares for him a lot. He saw that the lord took his side the moment he entered that room and started beating Deok Jae. Finally, I’ve always said that the painter was the bravest one which was confirmed in the latest chapter 53 again. He showed no fear to step between the servant and the lord, was willing to get a slap and didn’t even resent Yoon Seungho for his violent gesture.

Strangely, despite not knowing how intelligent and educated the lord is, the painter already fell for him as he sensed the love in his actions. The spiritual love will only come the moment the lord reveals his other side to the commoner but for that they need to open up to each other and even entrust their heart to each other.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support.

14 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Spirituality and sensuality

  1. Wow, I love the interpretation of Seungho trying to recreate the sensuality of their first night together. I agree with you on that hes not going be able to confront his feelings alone and that Nakyum will probably have to confess his feelings first. I feel like next chapter Seungho is gonna be heavily in denial about loving Nakyum even though hes probably going to continue to protect him. Im confident that Min is going to keep antagonizing Seungho and I hope it leads to him unintentionally doing something that is very out of the ordinary for him, like when he got Nakyum winter clothes but more along the lines of making Nakyum feel safe which would create gossip among the nobles(like Min and Jihwa).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your analysis! Sometimes I have trouble “reading between the lines ” and some subtleties are lost on me. I’ll think and think on it, like why did Seungho say that/act that way and your ideas really make sense.
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for the compliment. Well, only after understanding the chapter 49 correctly, I could better grasp Yoon Seungho after that. He’s my favorite character as he is really complex and as such very interesting.

      Like

  3. I really agree with your analysis. They do not distinguish between sensuality-mind and spirit-body. They are out of balance.

    I also believe that the reasons you list are the reasons why the Noble fell in love with NK. And I think that the painter was so rebellious with My Lord, because it made him confront his own truth, hence that outright rejection from the beginning

    I think it takes them so long to realize what they really feel, because in part they are two deeply wounded people. SH drags the trauma of the betrayal of who else should have taken care of him (his father) and NK is a boy who has been abandoned since he was born – first they leave him at the Kisaeng house, then his noona leaves him, then his teacher (twice) – and the last week he felt abandoned by Young Master.

    I’m not going to compare the pain of the characters, they are different, but just as profound. They are like two children who were not spoken to when they were little, we know the damage that this can do to the construction of subjectivity. As no one taught them “to speak”, they cannot identify what they feel, that is, because they cannot put it into words, they simply cannot think about it. For this reason, in part, the violence of SH and, on the other hand, the passivity of the painter. They are two sides of the same coin.

    They are both self-destructive too, when Jun-In-Hun hurt NK the first time, he began to drink himself unconscious and the second time he surrendered to the master without really caring what might happen to his body.

    For his part, the Noble, after what happened with his father (which we do not know what it is, but we can imagine it), surrendered to hedonistic pleasure, detaching himself from any type of affective bond, although he considered himself a free spirit, in reality he was as lonely and broken as the painter. The second time he is injured (this time because of the painter’s innocent sincerity) he takes refuge in drink and drugs, partly to prove to himself that nothing has changed and partly to silence the pain caused by the boy’s rejection.

    But of the two NK is the bravest, because unlike SH who is the first-born of a Noble House, he has nothing to lose, he has nothing to gain either nobody believes in him and nobody expects anything from him, although NK may not understand his own feelings, they are always genuine. What NK does not have is power, something that SH has plenty of.

    Well, here again bothering you hahaha. I just love how they are telling us this love story, everything is really very good, the graphics, the characters, the plot. And the wait from week to week is long. It is nice to find a place where we can talk about what we like.
    Thanks for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really love your replies and was actually waiting for a comment from you LOL. Yes, both have been hurt deeply hence the noble couldn’t perceive the brainwashing Baek Na-Kyum was exposed to. But I see hope in the last chapter… since there is a phoenix on the robe and I said that the noble had “died” a second time, I feel that the coming chapters will show his rebirth and it will be connected to the painter. My belief is that the last drawing will show him that the painter didn’t cry that night like he had imagined. Furthermore, both faces are well drawn. I believe that Seungho will realize the meaning of the picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha I’m very interested in this story, so finding your blog and having an exchange is like an oasis in the desert !!

    I am also very optimistic about the evolution of the characters, although I know there is going to be a lot of drama, I mean, we still have to see what happens with the hitman issue, Jun-In-Hun is going to return and the final arc that I imagine it will be with SH’s father.
    Deep down I really believe that this story is like that of Romeo and Juliet, only set in Korean antiquity and between two men (and that at least one of them is of legal age).

    What I really like about your essays is that they are deeply pedagogical, it is rare to find that on the web.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know that’s the best compliment I’ve ever received. I guess, my profession as teacher does transpire through my texts. I have to admit that I love teaching. On the other hand, I must confess that analyzing characters in dramas/manhwas helped me to perceive people’s personality better in real life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. But I mean it.
        Your comparative essays are very good and very constructive, in my case you led me to read works that I had not read, especially because here we focus on Latin American classics, Spanish literature, and Anglo-Saxon literature.
        Teachers have to take into account so many things when we teach (the group we address ourselves to, the content to teach, adapt it, creative activities, etc.), that in the end almost unconsciously everything in our lives becomes a pedagogical fact lol.
        And your blog is really very good in that space, as well as being an excellent exercise in writing and analysis!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love how you mentioned the parallels between ch 26 and ch 53 where Na-Kyum hugged Seungho for different reasons. However, I’ve noticed yet another parallel. In both ch 18 and ch 53, Seungho humiliates a noble for Na-Kyum’s sake. In ch 18, it was Jihwa when he assaulted Na-Kyum and admitted pouring water on his painting, whereas in ch 53, it’s Min. I guess you could say his reaction in the latest chapter was motivated by more personal reasons, whereas in ch 18, Seungho could’ve simply been angered that the artwork was destroyed (at least to Nakyum’s knowledge). However, chapters 52 and 53 also include a noble attempting to devalue Nakyum’s painting. In ch 52, Min dropped the painting Na-Kyum intended to give to Seungho and in ch 53 he is again guilty of sacrilege when he trampled on the same painting before kissing Nakyum.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Comme d’habitude c’est avec grand plaisir que je lis ton analyse.
    Tu a énormément contribué à mon amour pour POTN!
    I will write in English for the peoples who like reading your comments .
    Reading your previous post the “spirit and the shadow “ gave me such a shock, it all made sense and opened my eyes. Reading the last chapter I felt so shaken and all I was waiting for was to read what you will write about.
    I don’t even know how you can come to write so much about it and open our eyes to little details, you are indeed an intellectual as you drawn us to your post and make us understand the story on a whole level, everything make so much sense . If I hasn’t read and saw your blog I would miss so many things . Byeondduck is an amazing person and a perfectionist as she lead us by the nose.
    I could see a new SH as I didn’t understood why he had ignored NK for a week I got worried but now I know why .
    I must admit that your analyse “ the spirit and the shadow “ is one of lu favorite !
    I could see the love of SH the warm of NK it felt like as reading a new chapter full of love.
    I also think that NK is really brave, he, a lowborn dares more than once going against SH. Nobody dared that, this really prove us that he is a natural and doesn’t fake it . I understand how deep SH fell for NK and I am happy that the love is mutual .
    New chapter will be beautiful or horrible . I’m waiting on anticipation and I read all the comments I come up with new ideas .
    Keep going my dear.
    In hope to see your next post 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Always a pleasure to read!!! This analysis, specially, had my heart! Made me realize somethings I haven’t seen before and it’s making my heart clenchhh hahahaha oh, my! I can’t with these two!!!!
    Their first hug without the need to express sexual desire… it’s so tender and lovely. When Seungho reached for Nakyum’s headband I could sense it was special to him. Nakyum held him so tight too! As if he’s saying to Seungho not hurt himself. Because every time he gets violent it’s a way of falling down the ladder to understrand his own feelings… to feel again. Especially love. Seungho has something to self destructive behavior and Nakyum just put a stop on it this time and I think this is so significant.
    And that’s true!! I also think Nakyum is gonna confess first. You made a good list of “whys”. And I cant wait that to happen. Nakyum is my favorite haha I’m always rooting for him because some of his feelings are very similar to mine. Seungho had a rollecoaster of feelings but so had Nakyum. Being rejected, seeing his lord kissing another man, his painting on the floor as if it was worth nothing, his hand being injured, bad feelings reappearing, listening to hurtful comments (that honesly would scare and sadden any person, getting harrassed by Min and at the end he heard for the second time Seungho likes him.
    Oh, well. You know, Nakyum haven’t done anything wrong, he only listened to his own feelings and never meant to hurt anyone. ever. This boy deserves so many good things!!! jfsnjkfsd anyway, this wasn’t the objective of this comment but anyway!
    Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Baby Nakyum haven’t done anything wrong, ever, in his life and he ended up with his cheek and hand hurting. I hope not his feelings once again. WE GOTTA PROTECT THIS BABY

    Liked by 1 person

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