Painter Of The Night: Paintings (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwa.  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:

In the chapter 54, the manhwalovers discover Yoon Seungho’s biggest fears: the loss of the painter and his own reflection. When he sees this scene, he has the impression to see himself. Notice that the clothes and positions of the painter and the noble are quite similar. .

What caught my attention is the painter’s gaze. Due to the alcohol and opium, his eyes are looking in the void. The glance oozes passivity, disorientation and emptiness. It’s as if he had turned into a ghost or empty shell due to the lost gaze. Therefore the protagonist gets shocked and scared because he has the impression, not only he’s turning his loved one into the image he detests the most but also the painter reflects his own gaze from the past, when he got gangraped [based on my theory]. This scene reminds him of his own trauma hence he can only get paralyzed for one moment.

Because of that void gaze, I couldn’t help myself connecting it to the first painting Baek Na-Kyum made for the lord. Back then, the lord got surprised and pleased with the drawing because he saw the vividness of his own gaze. He saw desires, beauty and attraction therefore he could finally see that he was alive and even desirable. That’s why he was finally able to enjoy sex for the first time at the pavilion. With the first painting, Seungho was able to see his own reflection, a proof of his life. This outlines how big his trauma is that he fears to confront himself in a mirror. You might argue that he used a mirror during the sex marathon and as such could view his own image. However there was the painter between him and the mirror. Secondly, his gaze was always focused on his sex partner and his facial expressions. As a conclusion, he never looked at his own gaze and reflection the whole time.

Since the painting assisted the lord to behold his own reflection, then his desire to have the painter worked for him became much more important. From my point of view, the pictures became vital as they helped the protagonist to see himself as a man and not as a spirit. Because of this observation, this made me realize what the damage of the second drawing meant. Due to the water, Seungho’s facial expressions and his gaze were destroyed. Jihwa’s petty action had a devastating effect on Yoon Seungho. It was, as if he had been personally attacked. Someone wanted to erase the evidence of his life. No wonder that Yoon Seungho went totally berserk, when he saw the painting ruined. In another analysis, I had explained that the images produced by Baek Na-Kyum revealed the painter’s state of mind but also mirrored the evolution of his relationship with the lord. Since I know now that the lord has only viewed himself as a spirit during the first season and finally changed his mind in the chapter 49 to let the body lead his life, I underestimated the importance of the paintings for the noble.

Therefore I come to the following conclusion. The paintings kept serving as a mirror for the lord, even after the first drawing. His emancipation in the chapter 4 just represented the first step of his transformation. Furthermore, during their wedding night, the master tasted the sweetness of the painter’s gaze directly hence he wanted to relive it. This explains why he kissed the painter’s eye so tenderly. He treasured them for they mirrored beauty and tenderness. The positive reflection in the painter’s gaze made him feel lovable and alive. But Yoon Seungho was confronted with two issues after their wonderful night. He knew that the love confession was addressed to the scholar. The second problem was that during the first season, Baek Na-Kyum was so focused to deny his sexual orientation and had such a low self-esteem that he never drew his face properly which bothered the noble extremely. He desired to see his own reflection in Baek Na-Kyum’s eyes and in the drawings. Therefore the lord was annoyed with the fourth drawing not just because he had imagined that the commoner had painted their wedding night but also because he noticed the absence of the low-born’s gaze. Before the rape, he even complimented that the artist had a vivid memory. Striking is that he used the word “vivid” which is an allusion to the lively master’s gaze. Therefore I have the impression that while the lord was pleased with his own reflection, he was also annoyed that the painter had no eyes and facial expressions in the drawing. Consequently he imagined that if they had sex there and this time, the painter could remember their intercourse, then the low-born would produce a work where both gazes are viewed: vividness and admiration. But what the aristocrat failed to recognize is that he confused vividness for love. Right from the start, the protagonist had fallen in love with the painter but he didn’t get aware of it due to his inexperience and his philosophy (he is just a spirit). He had no idea that his heart had been racing for the painter. As a rational “spirit”, he explained everything with the need to see his vivid gaze in the works again. He was longing for adoration in the painter’s gaze because his need for recognition and love was so strong. As a conclusion, he was longing to experience the lovely gaze coming from the painter, a sign that he was lovable and admirable. This need implies how much he must have detested his own image that he has to look at the painter’s gaze to feel loved.

As time passed on, the purpose of the paintings became little by little obsolete as the master was now fixated on getting the painter’s heart which he never realized. In his mind, everything was related to the eyes. Now, his urge to see himself in the painter’s gaze directly was stronger than the need to have a drawing reflecting both gazes. Baek Na-Kyum’s glance had become the mirror the master could never use for real. Since he could never forget their first night and the sweetness of that gaze, he imagined that having sex would recreate these feelings and as such the glance full of admiration. Deep down he wanted to experience it again and have a painting about it. But nothing like that happened.

This explains either why he was determined to get the painter’s admiration for himself but at the same time why he is not getting aware of his feelings for the painter. If the artist was only looking at him, then he would see himself in the eyes and accept himself as a man worthy of recognition and adoration. That’s why he was more focused on the painter than on the works at the end of the first season. Besides, since the painter had spoken about admiration in his love confession, the lord got the impression that it was all about adoration and not love. Moreover, the painter had created so many like a machine, where the beholder could never feel the vividness and admiration in both gazes. Observe that in all the paintings, the faces are missing. There is no facial expression and no gaze. They just mirror sexual activities without any feeling. No wonder if the lord couldn’t appreciate them. Little by little, the painter was losing his “passion” reflecting his dying heart, while the lord lost his interest in the drawing as he was expecting to see the return of the painter’s glance full of admiration. This explicates why the lord keeps looking the painter’s face all the time. He is bothered, when the latter cries like in the chapter 42 or he is full of expectation, when he looks up at him in the chapter 49. He really hopes here to hear the “admiration” confession hence his eyes are directed the painter’s. He wants a confirmation in the painter’s gaze that he is desirable and admirable.

Now, if we look at the drawings from the second season, we will notice that while the painter is regaining his confidence and identity little by little, the lord’s gaze becomes vivid again. Slowly, the paintings are becoming more precise and oozing more and more emotions. They reflect the progression of Baek Na-Kyum’s relationship with Yoon Seungho. While he was lacking of passion in the first drawing, in the second the artist shows pleasure, yet his eyes are still close. The problem is that the lord never got to see this drawing as it was thrown away by the master, because the latter wanted to protect the low-born from Min’s vicious words. When the lord saw the first painting, he was displeased for two reasons: the feelings and his vivid gaze were missing. That’s how he realized that his intercourses with the painter meant nothing to his lover. The latter was just a machine, a prostitute and was ignoring his affection.

The painter never got to see and feel the master’s vivid gaze, which is referring to love the whole time. Yet, the noble is still ignorant about his mistake. He is still confusing vivid gaze with love. The result of all this was that the noble was deeply hurt. He even had to hear that he was still viewed as a man consumed by lust. So when he hears about the incident at the library with Jung In-Hun, he realizes he had been living an illusion. Hence he distanced himself from the painter. The irony is that Yoon Seungho didn’t get to see the second painting. If he did, he would have recognized that many things had changed. The painter is now reflecting the lord’s vivid gaze again. He has already sensed his love but he hasn’t perceived it yet as his eyes are still closed.

Because the lord had no painting to smooth his pain and he could only watch the artist from the distance during that week of debauchery, he has to rely on the painter’s gaze again. So when in the chapter 54, he hears the painter’s denial , he looks at his gaze immediately. He knows that his eyes reflect his inner thoughts and emotions. He is so transparent for the powerful main lead. Now, I can understand why Byeonduck decided to revise the following drawing since the painter’s facial expression is important to explain Yoon Seungho’s future reaction.

Here, you have two versions (Korean version/English version) of the painter’s reaction. On the left side, the gaze expresses more fear, while on the right side, he is more doubting and questioning the master. He can’t believe it that a lord would fall for him, this is not really possible in his eyes. Yoon Seungho doesn’t see any adoration in the painter’s eyes but his doubt and disbelief. The words combined with this expression wound the noble’s heart. He has been rejected again, the gaze didn’t mirror any admiration like he wished. We shouldn’t forget that before witnessing the artist’s facial expression, the author gave us a zoom on the lord’s gaze. He is even more shocked and pained with the painter’s glance than the words he has just heard.

He is also surprised as well. This outlines the importance of the painter’s eyes in the master’s life. They reflect his own image. What he sees is nothing admirable: disbelief and a certain shock. The painter is even denying him any feeling and affection. Since I discovered that the painter serves as a mirror, I came to the conclusion, the fear expressed in the Korean version reflects in reality more what the lord is seeing. As a conclusion, the shock and fright in Baek Na-Kyum’s gaze are actually more mirroring the lord’s own fears. That’s why he gets so hurt, he has the impression that Baek Na-Kyum is not only rejecting with his mouth but also with his eyes.

We shouldn’t forget that he had never liked his image, therefore he only started enjoying sex, only after seeing the reflection of his gaze in the first painting created by Baek Na-Kyum. Remember what I wrote the role played by the gaze, a philosophy developed by Jean-Paul Sartres: through the gaze of others, you perceive your own identity but it is accompanied with their judgement. That’s the reason why Yoon Seungho was a loner in reality. By not meeting people, except for sex, he avoided their eyes. This explains why he could live as a ghost for a long time. However, his meeting with the painter changed everything. He discovered a pure reflection. From that moment, he started living like a man but his mind refused to change its view: he was just a spirit. Because of the painter’s transparence,

Yoon Seungho could sense the purity in the low-born and feel cleansed. He felt somehow accepted and he didn’t see any judgement. Sure, in that scene the painter is blushing because of Jung In-Hun which annoys the master very much. Yet, he can’t argue with this as he knows that the blushing signalizes innocence and genuineness, qualities he admires and he has been missing. The low-born’s gaze and face were the reasons why Yoon Seungho fell in love but his mind never noticed it or refused to accept this. His conscious made the decision to continue living as a spirit. Hence he never noticed that his gaze, feet, hands and lips were expressing something, as if they were acting on their own.

As you can observe, the lord is so much affected by Baek Na-Kyum’s gaze that this is not surprising that at the end, he reacts so violently, when he observes the transformation of the painter’s glance. It was as if the painter was becoming the reflection of Seungho in the past. Besides, the latter can only get upset, when he observes how the artist is no longer looking at him. His eyes are not only void of any expression but also looking at another direction. This can only upset the noble. He has always longed for that gaze and now it is empty and lost. As a conclusion, the low-born’s gaze has become vital for Yoon Seungho. Without him, he can’t live properly. The explanation is simple. He is really longing for that admiration and affection in the low-born’s glance, since he had the impression that he wasn’t living before. Due to that incident, it is imaginable that the lord will avoid Baek Na-Kyum again. He will fear his gaze. On the other hand, I sense that the lord might discover the second painting and recognize that the influence of Jung In-Hun has already disappeared. The reappearance of the lord’s vivid gaze is a proof that the painter has sensed something coming from the lord. From my point of view, the manhwaphiles will witness the return of the paintings because in the second season, they play no huge role in the evolution of the story, unlike in the first season. The paintings will help the artist and the master to reconnect. Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho felt a connection with the painter, even before meeting him for the first time, displaying how much his work meant to Yoon Seungho. The paintings will help them to discover their feelings for each other at the end.

Since I have discovered that Byeonduck uses the events from the first season as support, then we need to compare the drawings from the second season to the first’s. We had a destroyed and a damaged painting, then the third drawing was representing the lord with Jihwa. The latter had closed eyes as well. Then we have the fourth drawing that was about the masturbation where the painter had no facial expressions. Notice the similarities between the damaged paintings and the first one which was not really finished and so lacking. Then the second picture mirrors the one with Jihwa Does it mean that we will have another picture, where the lord masturbates the painter but this time, the commoner will draw his features so that the lord can detect the pleasure. The other divergence will be that this time, Baek Na-Kyum is represented with open eyes.

Since we had a painting of Jung In-Hun at the end, I am somehow expecting that the last painting represent the painter’s love for Yoon Seungho contrasting so much to the one with Jung In-Hun. In the picture, the painter would be in the center. His eyes would be directed at Yoon Seungho and the latter would look back at him. In my opinion, the final picture will contrast so much to the inauguration picture the painter produced for the low noble. This would become the ultimate symbol of their mutual love.

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.

20 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Paintings (second version)

  1. So In your opinion SH will continue to ignore him ?
    – I also thought that SH was already into him at first ! When he met him and took his hands it wasn’t his usual behavior as he was always passive .
    -The first night was already the confirmation of his love for him as I’m sure he was indeed inlove since the first times (or feelings )
    -> I really hope he will see that drawing and it will awake him. That he realize how their relation is changing
    -> I also hope Namless will change his will and won’t hurt NK
    -> I wish JIhwa happiness and I wish him to find a person who also love him for who he is , looking at him he is very frail at heart
    -> I hope that NK will realize his feelings and won’t hurt SH anymore . I hope he will be courageous and start the conversation , I hope SH will stop being coward and ignoring him
    I love your analyses ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. IMO, it could be the painter’s turn to feel despair and resignation, just like in the chapter 35, where the noble was on the verge of giving up. Either he decides to run away and Kim is able to find him and talk to him or he remains but feels just depressed and even more disillusioned. Seungho discovers the painting through Kim and that’s how they reconnect. Let’s not forget that Kim received the painting about Jung In-Hun so he could play the role of a real mediator. Kim knows how much the pictures mean to the noble and the low-born.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi there! I agree with the approach of the essay! (I seem to always say it, but I have a similar perspective so it’s hard to disagree :))

    I think one of the problems I see (in terms of fictional characters’ self-perceptions) is that SH is too Nk-centric: what NK sees, what NK thinks, what NK feels, what happens to NK, Who is he talking to, where is he going? But he does it from the wrong perspective, because his gaze is focused on need, fear and suspicion (which I understand has to do with his past, of course).

    SH is so, so focused on the painter that he is unable to see his own metamorphosis, and that makes him super intense with the boy.

    Everything that happens has multiple causes, that’s why when he saw himself reflected in NK’s gaze and liked what he saw (as you say) he wanted more, he wants to fill a deep void with the perception of the painter.

    I don’t know if the character is aware of what he wants from NK, but there is no doubt that he has put a lot of pressure on him.

    And I think, in part, this is what brings SH into a confused state where his emotions are out of control. Especially when she found out that Jun-In-Hun called NK a “prostitute”.

    And the worst thing is that in the end My Lord is as blind and deaf as NK at the beginning of the season, he wants so much to win the admiration of the painter that he cannot see what the boy really is (brave, kind, generous, artistic, beautiful and mostly soft, NK is very very soft and cuddly).

    On the other hand, the panel where NK seems empty and emotionless, is the last straw for SH, he does not like what is happening, that’s why the progression between shots (medium shot, close-up and very close-up) is a progression in the severity of what you are seeing. It is SH’s mind that tells us that it is about to explode.

    Anyway, SH doesn’t know how to treat NK because she doesn’t even know how he feels about him. The same happens with NK, he does not understand the Master and that is why he ends up hurting him, the painter does not know very well what his place is in SH’s house and therefore he does not know his place in SH’s heart.

    One is emotionally confused and the other mentally confused, as you say, is a dialogue between the heart and the mind.

    I always end up writing a lot, sorry!

    Have a nice day or night depending on the time zone you are in !!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow your comment is so on point! Made me splechless, you really said it deep and I had great time reading it . I always like how your comments are always full . Have a great time you too ! 😘

      Liked by 2 people

    2. So true! Those panels with a close-up on NK could be interpreted in so many ways. I think what we saw is not SH’s hallucination but exactly how it happened and Seungho was as shocked as us, the readers. He saw Nakyum passively accepting the attention of the two nobles and even enjoying the moment. He probably was under the influence of the alcohol and the opium, but the results is the same in Seungho’s mind. The guy had a shocked face then he went crazy and got rid of the two nobles. He wants Nakyum for himself and no one else should be able to give him pleasure. In that moment, it was as if Nakyum lost his innocence.

      Was it the ultimate wake-up call for Seungho so he wants to keep him even more for himself and protect him from now on? I hope so. You said Seungho does not see how Nakyum is kind and wonderful. I think he did see it. That’s exactly what made him love him. He is just unable to put 2 and 2 together. It’s exactly as you analyzed it. He is too Nk-centric and needs more perspective to figure out what’s going on.

      By the way, don’t you guys think that Byeonduck really wanted to make the panels of NK with the two nobles highly sensual? That was surprising. I even liked them even tho I hated the idea of Nakyum being touched by someone else. She is so damn talented. She probably did it on purpose. Why, I wonder?!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. You know, one thing doesn’t exclude the other. Seungho saw himself and saw Baek Na-Kyum so passive hence he feared, he might lose him and as such lose himself as well. Yes, I agree with you, the scene with the nobles was very sensual.


      2. You said he might lose him and “as such lose himself “ u mean because if he loose NK it’s as he is dying ? U mean in that way ?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. He will be even more lost than before. In my opinion, he needs his presence much more than before. So without him, Seungho will be completely lost, even Min witnessed it. Notice the rage and fury increased compared to the chapter 30.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Well, it’s not that he doesn’t see how nice he is, I think he doesn’t realize how good NK is, because SH is traumatized and sees the painter under a filter of suspicion (this is what I think, not necessarily the truth ). As Teachernim said this second season is about SH coming to terms with his feelings, so when he accepts them he can see that NK can give him so much more than he bargained for.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Noone, that potential loss of innocence is something that I think stood out to myself and perhaps other readers. I’ve been wondering about the meaning as well. One theory that came to mind is that SH may realize that he’s not the only one that can make NK feel good physically. Also she always does hot for the sizzle scenes, I’m ready for another one on one scene between Seungho and Nakyum.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Right!

    PS. I wanted to ask a stupid question… I am probably the only one who is wondering this but what is the meaning of the mini-cloud bubbles surrounding the characters from time to time? We can see it again on the panel of Seungho being shocked looking at NK with the nobles. Is it heat>> intensity >> tension? Or something more specific? :DD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would like to bring back the idea of the paintings to the forefront. The paintings shown by the author are no mistake. In her most recent twitter post she also mentioned that she is trying to use facial expressions. Additionally, when NK denied the feelings. He did not say he himself did not love the Lord. But rather “it’s a lie” and “it can not be.” He did not say “you do not love me” but rather he stated it like it’s irrefutable fact like he is in disbelief. Looking closely at the zoomed in expression of NK we see that he is blushing. Then the next scene is of them basically staring at each other (maybe trying to figure out what each is thinking). Then the rough kiss with focus on the lips. Followed by the possible party that was cut short by SH himself with that look of confusion. The other dudes had their hands all over NK. I believe this speaks about SH’s evolution as a person, the SH of the beginning of the series would have “shared.” We also have to keep in mind that NK has not physically been with anyone else hence still “untainted”. I know we are all wanting them to declare their love for each other, the author seems more realistic than some. (I feel) She really seeks to develop the story and the background first because love is messy. Keep in mind that this is love between a Lord who was likely betrayed by his own family and a low-born who was separated / thrown away by multiple people he cared about (adoptive mother and teacher). I would be surprised if they even knew really what love actually was. I believe that SH wants to protect NK’s innocence.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Something that I wanted to add that nobody is talking about and I found it very funny is the scene in which she takes him to the bedroom to have an orgy and gives him a very passionate kiss that even seems to bite his lip (or something like that I don’t the action was very clear) but the fact is that after that he throws NK against the ground. What amuses me is NK look of confusion that, after having kissed him deeply, throws him away. It seemed like a very tsundere reaction to me hahaha

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hiyaaa! I’m glad I came here to leave a comment again, after some time.
    It’s always interesting to come and read your thoughts on the chapter and on Seungho’s character, even though they can be different from mine! It always gives me perspective lol I always say this because it’s always true.
    Last chapter hurted me a lot. As you said, we as readers, we can feel the character’s pain! That’s why this manhwa is so good! I felt Nakyum’s confusion directly in my heart. So much I had to write my thoughts down for a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. Yes, the chapter was really heartbreaking and both characters suffer but I am always looking at the end of the tunnel… although it might take some time again. Fortunately, Baek Na-Kyum is using more his brain now and has a forgiving nature.

      Liked by 2 people

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