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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After the release of chapter 57, I had predicted that we would have a new version of chapter 39-40 in the next episode and I was right. However, so far, I examined the love confession by comparing it to their so-called “Wedding night” and came to the conclusion, this wonderful night stands under the sign of reality. First, Yoon Seungho has now resigned to expect no confession from the low-born and considers it as just a mirage, an illusion. Moreover, there’s no confusion about the lord’s intentions and the lover’s identity due to the presence of the light and the painter’s clear mind. (chapter 58) Finally, Baek Na-Kyum’s deeply repressed desire and dream becomes a reality, his lord is in love with him. But since this wonderful chapter should be considered as a new version of the events related to the tailor shop, we need to examine chapter 58 under a different aspect: responsibility which was the main topic of chapter 39-40. [Here, this is my analysis about these chapters https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/responsibility-an-analysis-of-the-chapters-39-and-40/ ]
Back then, the lord made it clear that he wanted to take his responsibility for the painter and this in two occasions. First, it occurred at the tailor shop. Later, it was on their way back home. He put a red dot on the artist’s forehead, a sign that he was taking Baek Na-Kyum as his bride. (chapter 40) (chapter 40) However, we have now to understand that this gesture was under the influence of his unconscious and the lord had not recognized his own feelings for the painter so far. He was more under the impression that he was making decisions rationally. Furthermore, he was not taking the painter’s feelings into consideration, since he was well aware of Baek Na-Kyum’s “adoration” for Jung In-Hun. In other words, this gesture signified that Yoon Seungho would become Baek Na-Kyum’s husband and companion, even if the artist was not in love with him. Now, you might be wondering why I focus first on the red dot than the event at the tailor shop. There’s a reason for that. Here, the topic “reliability” is more developed and plays a huge role in their relationship.
In that scene, Baek Na-Kyum declares that Yoon Seungho is the cause of his reddening, when the lord couldn’t help noticing it and even emphasizing it. (chapter 39) Here, he accepts the blame, because he has now a reason to have some sexual interactions with the painter. Consequently, he proposes another fellatio (chapter 39) under the pretense of forgiveness, which the artist refuses by objecting that he is not blaming the noble at all. Notice that the painter is forced to become the accountable one and take the blame for the whole situation. And this shows that in that scene the lord is actually the one with the upper hand as he uses Baek Na-Kyum’s shyness and embarrassment in order to tease him and actually obtain what he has been longing: intimacy with Baek Na-Kyum.
Yet, the real cause for all the speech about responsibility is that the lord was jealous. When he entered the shop, he saw the artist’s red face, while the tailor’s hands were touching the sex partner’s body and misunderstood the cause of the reddening. Out of jealousy, he wanted to embarrass the commoner and at the same time to claim him as his lover in front of the tailor. (chapter 39) However, when the boy apologized to the lord and claimed that he was responsible for everything, the noble noticed the painter’s erection which could only arouse him. (chapter 39) In my opinion, the painter’s reaction must have been triggered by Seungho’s offer for a fellatio. Observe that, while he’s whispering to the painter, the latter’s face blushes again, but more importantly, there’s a sudden light in the artist’s eye. (chapter 39) One could argue that this was due to his shyness, however his visage was already red before. Besides, the lord had done it before and we have to imagine that it must have given pleasure to Baek Na-Kyum. Imagine, what it means for the master. This time Seungho is somehow sure that the painter is finally excited due to his presence hence he chooses to push the things even further, and sends the tailor and Kim away. He desires to seize the opportunity. As a conclusion, the painter’s erection leads him to kiss the artist. But since the painter is now stating that he is to blame for all this, the noble can ask him afterwards to take his responsibility. (chapter 39) He needs to satisfy him as he is now excited too. As you can observe, there was a shift of responsibility at the tailor shop. However, the lord shows a certain reliability as he just asks for a foreplay because of his concern that the painter could feel uncomfortable afterwards. (chapter 39) As a conclusion, the lord showed signs that he was willing to be responsible for the low-born, although at the end, the artist ended up as the one who had to become the accountable one. In order to compare both scenes (39-58), it is necessary to list all the important elements present in the chapters 39-40 again:
- The artist’s blushing
- Yoon Seungho’s jealousy
- The aristocrat’s willingness to become responsible for the painter
- The painter’s accountability for Yoon Seungho at the end
- Baek Na-Kyum’s erection noticed by the lord serves as a signal to initiate a kiss and have a foreplay at the tailor shop
- The lord’s desire to take Baek Na-Kyum as his bride, despite knowing that the painter is not in love with him
And now it’s time to focus our attention on chapter 58 and the lord’s confession.
The first parallel between the two scenes is the kiss. Notice that the aristocrat is also triggered to initiate a kiss, however this time the signal is not an erection, but the painter’s words combined with his red face: “home with you”.
As you can sense, Yoon Seungho kisses the painter in the both scenes, as he has perceived a change in the low-born, as if he had finally accepted him. However, there’s a huge difference, as in chapter 58 physical attraction is no longer in the foreground. In fact, feelings are in the center now contrasting to the scene at the tailor shop. We could say that back then, this chapter marked a turning point in Baek Na-Kyum’s life, as he was no longer rejecting the lord’s advances and even showed a physical response to Yoon Seungho’s flirting. This stands in opposition to chapter 58, where the lord keeps rejecting the painter and even treats him like a servant.
It was, as if the roles had been switched. Baek Na-Kyum is the one cornering the lord, since he continues showing care for the aristocrat and overlooks the harsh tone and gestures from the sick protagonist. Remember that in episode 39, Seungho pushed the artist against the wall reflecting their actual situation. (chapter 39) And now, it’s the opposite: Seungho is against the wall as he can no longer deny his feelings for Baek Na-Kyum.
As a first conclusion, the panel above reflects the painter’s real position. The latter has actually the upper hand in their encounter and conversation, and his power is so immense that one word is enough to generate hope in the master. He had given up on the painter, yet the words “go back home with you” sounded so sweet to his ears and eyes that he had to admit defeat and succumb to his need to kiss the commoner. Sex is here not present at all. The lord detects that Baek Na-Kyum has developed some attachment to him, he considers him now as someone from the same home and family. These words lead to the kiss and notice that the painter’s blushing contributes to their continuation of their flirting and seduction. But now, you might ask where the topic “responsibility” is present in chapter 58, when it is not used at all.
We have the topic “responsibility”, disguised under the following expressions: (chapter 58) Note that both idioms have a similar connotation: destruction (ruins, wreck) and blame (you/don’t). However, Jihwa’s words contain reproach and resent indicating that he is not enjoying his situation. Since the main lead is to blame for Jihwa’s misery, the former should become responsible for him. As the manhwalovers can detect, Jihwa’s confession has a different signification. Jihwa is recognizing his defeat, which indicates that he indeed associates affection for weakness and a sex/love session as a fight. He never confessed before, because he didn’t want to surrender but preferred his childhood friend being the one. Jihwa was hoping that due to his loneliness, the main character would seek comfort by him as the only one remaining loyal by his side. That’s why he pushed away any possible rival before. (chapter 59) Consequently, Seungho would come to develop an affection for him and confess to him. This is the other reason why Jihwa was thinking, time would work for him and kept waiting, but got only frustrated, as his situation never changed until chapter 3-4. That sex session at the pavilion gave him hope (chapter 3), which explains why he treated the painter so arrogantly and even barged later at Seungho’s house in the chapter 12, a behavior which Seungho disapproved. The red-haired noble had imagined, his status had improved and he was on the verge of becoming his official lover. This analogy between love and demise/defeat is important, because it truly shows how much Jihwa and Yoon Seungho had internalized these values and why it took the lord a long time to confess to the painter properly. Therefore, when the red-haired noble admits his attachment to his childhood friend, he knees in front of his childhood friend, a symbol for defeat and submission. (chapter 58) Simultaneously, this explains why Jihwa’s words reflect resent and selfishness (chapter 57) contrasting to his humble position. He forgives the friend for hurting his pride, but he is pressuring his friend to accept his feelings, because he is responsible for his “ruined state”. (chapter 58) And now, if we contrast it with the main lead’s confession, we discover a different state of mind. The lord is definitely admitting his defeat as well, yet he is not blaming Baek Na-Kyum, in fact he is enjoying his actual situation. There’s a certain admiration for the “you” who has turned him into a wreck. The word responsibility has a different signification here. It’s no longer blame or accountability but maturity and trustworthiness. He’s no longer paying attention to his pride, there’s no resent. His only joy is to be able to show his love for the artist, since the latter is allowing him to express his feelings through words and actions.
Striking is that the noble utilizes the idiom “wreck” in another moment in his confession: (chapter 58) After reading it for the first time, the reader would judge “wreck” in a rather pejorative light. On the surface, it seems that the lord is referring to the painter’s drunkenness, yet it gets a different meaning after reading the whole chapter. Moreover, it becomes more obvious that the noble judges “wreck” as something admirable, since “wreck” is combined with absolute. Despite his terrible state and his first rejection, the artist was determined to confess no matter what. He was brave and strong, although he looked terrible at the same time: drunk, desperate and full of tears. Yet, at no moment he blamed his “learned sir” for succumbing to his feelings or saw his love as something terrible. Unlike Jihwa and Seungho so far, he was true to them. It was so pure that the lord could only be impressed. That’s the reason why he wanted to mock him in the first place, as he had been taught that love is a synonym for weakness and surrendering to feelings was like admitting his inferiority and his defeat. This explicates why the lord was haunted by the pure and genuine kiss in the first place, it was something new. (chapter 58)
Therefore the lord comes to a different conclusion than Jihwa at the end. He has decided to act differently, although both share something: their honesty. Just like Jihwa who finally revealed his true thoughts and emotions, the main lead does the same. He is brutally honest. (chapter 58) He expresses his thoughts and emotions hoping that this would move the painter. As you can observe, responsibility is in the center of this chapter but unlike in the past, the meaning has changed. The protagonist finds the artist trustworthy. Here, feelings are important and unlike in the past, the lord is now decided to succumb to his feelings without feeling any humiliation or resent. He is actually rejoicing his situation, as the painter has acknowledged and accepted his love for him, when they make love. He is now allowed to love him without any expectation, but at the same time he is asking the painter to take responsibility for him: (chapter 58) Now, Baek Na-Kyum is the one who has been entrusted with the lord’s feelings, which is very similar in the chapter 39. Back then, the low-born was somehow “responsible” for the lord’s erection. Now, he has to consider the noble’s attachment for him. As for Yoon Seungho’s jealousy which led to the speech about responsibility in chapter 39, it’s Jihwa’s love and jealousy which forces the lord to initiate the kiss. Furthermore, when he mentions the scholar, the main lead lets transpire the former teacher is the cause for his suffering. He was haunted by the kiss and the simple and emotional confession of Baek Na-Kyum. His first confession made a wreck of him (chapter 58), tormenting him but now, he has changed because he is no longer hoping that the painter would ever return his affection. The wreck has a different signification. There’s no blame but acceptance and the willingness to submit himself to the low-born. Hence “wreck” should be perceived as a synonym for “responsible” like in chapter 39-40, yet with a different meaning. At the same time, Seungho is hoping that the painter will accept him as his partner, although the commoner has not confessed yet, which corresponds to the scene with the red dot. However, this time the roles are switched. This time, Seungho is asking him to be responsible for him, although the artist hasn’t made any love declaration towards the powerful lord.
Simultaneously we shouldn’t forget that Yoon Seungho is also giving what the low-born has always longed for: love. He is realizing the painter’s wish, unaware that the low-born’s dream has changed: he is now dreaming to be loved by Yoon Seungho. I would like to remind here that the speech and the painter’s blushing are the reasons why the lord keeps pushing further and further in his wooing, just like in chapter 39. Nonetheless this time, he overlooks his own discomfort (his poor health condition) in order to fulfil the painter’s wish.
As you could sense, in this chapter sex doesn’t signify fight any longer but expression of love. That’s why we could say that sex is no longer present, while it was not the case in chapter 39. Here, the lord makes love to Baek Na-Kyum and since they belong to the same house, the painter needs to be the one responsible for the lord’s condition. He is the reason why the lord has changed and transformed into a wreck, yet he is not resenting Baek Na-Kyum, quite the opposite. He has finally been able to convey his feelings and was not pushed away, unlike in the past. Besides, he is loving the artist selflessly, hence he is able to find peace of mind and to sleep without having any nightmare. He’s truly relaxed as he doesn’t sense the painter’s caress. (chapter 59) For the aristocrat, Baek Na-Kyum embodies trustworthiness, therefore he can rely on him now and unveil his true self, full of vulnerabilities. In my opinion, the lord was a wreck in the past but now, he embodies the opposite. He has found his true self again, a very sensitive and gentle person, who likes to be honest and is able to open up and trust someone. In my opinion, the wreck is an allusion to the rebirth of the phoenix.
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