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.
I explained in the first part how Jihwa would always use the past as justification to be in Seungho’s life and project himself into the future with his childhood friend therefore he would always be dissatisfied with the present. Even worse, he would even neglect it, not realizing that people close to him were utilizing him for their own benefit. The best example is Min who knows exactly how Jihwa ticks. Consequently the former is able to manipulate him and incite him to commit a murder. Then I pointed out that the red-haired noble’s state of mind would stand in opposition to the painter who embodies the present. Therefore I would like now to examine why they are so different and why Nameless embodies the future which I only elaborated briefly in the first part.
Let’s start with the artist. He is connected to the present as he lives in the moment. I could describe him as a carpe diem person. Yet it was not just visible in chapter 59. We had different clues all along, like in chapter 1. Back then, he manifested to Seungho that he was just painting in order to survive, a strong indicator that Baek Na-Kyum was not dreaming of becoming rich or famous. His goal was quite modest and simple. Then the readers surely remember the chapter 46 where he admitted to the head maid, he had once run away. He elaborated his reasons for his return and remain at the mansion: Note that here again, he is utilizing the present underlining one more time he is not thinking about the future. The past pushed him to make this decision and observe that during his escape, he expresses no reproach towards his adoptive mother or to Jung In-Hun. He just remembers their nice gestures, the caress on the cheek and the teacher’s smile, or her last words. So when he describes his situation to the head maid, it shows that he is satisfied with the moment as he has a roof over his head and is able to eat.
And his reasoning explains why Baek Na-Kyum has never brought up Seungho’s past wrongdoings (the forced fellatio, the rape, the slaps, the threads, the grabbing) after that terrible night. We could say that this is related to his pledged alliance in chapter 30, where he declared that he would do anything Seungho would ask him. For him, this signified that he could never reprimand his master for his actions. Consequently, this exposes that the artist took this vow very seriously. But there’s more to it, as in chapter 55, although he questions the nature of lord’s love for him, he has never criticized him for that night afterwards, although he could have, since he could have been raped. In fact, he has never brought it up, while the lord was actually expecting resent and rejection the next morning. He even confessed in such a way that he imagined that the artist would escape. But to his astonishment, the artist had remained by his side. Besides, note, it is not even present during the memories!!! Then when they meet again, he takes care of him and wants to make sure that Seungho feels more comfortable. I have the impression that he is not using the past because he has no ill intention towards others and he doesn’t want to play the victim either. Moreover, I believe, in his eyes bringing up the past doesn’t change his actual situation: he was abandoned and that’s a fact. He accepts his fate as painful as it is therefore he doesn’t blame anyone either. Now, you understand why I associated Baek Na-Kyum to the present in this panel and why Jihwa embodies the past.
And now, if the readers look again at Baek Na-Kyum’s memories about the past in chapter 59, they were surprised that the painter somehow recalled that Yoon Seungho even took care of him after their first night together. And it shows that Baek Na-Kyum knew somehow that he had slept with Seungho but preferred repressing it for two reasons. First, he wanted to keep the image that he had not violated his learned sir’s doctrines. Secondly he lives in the present hence it should remain in the past. Consequently it was better for him to lie to himself and to others that he had no memory, while the manhwaphiles are aware that he saw glimpses of it and now this panel is a proof that he knew deep down what had happened.
However, it was different for Yoon Seungho who had discovered sensual love. This night had left such a deep impression that he desired to relive this. Observe how close the lord’s head is touching the painter’s. He is embracing him as if he didn’t want to be separated. He was never so close to Jihwa, if you look at the different paintings and at the following picture as there was always a distance between them.
We could say that the noble had enjoyed the moment with the artist, which he never had before as everything was related to his past (resent against his father and the nobility). Because of that experience, the lord began envisioning a future, something he had never made before. He projected himself with the painter in the future. He desired to feel loved and see the expressions the painter had made during that night again. However, he never imagined, he would struggle so much in front of Baek Na-Kyum’s strong will and resistance. And if you pay attention to the powerful protagonist, you’ll observe that little by little, he is giving up on the future. It starts, when he lowers his expectations. In chapter 49, his future is now to enjoy his sexual encounters with the painter, never hoping that they will share what they have on their mind. As you can observe, he is gradually adopting the painter’s philosophy: enjoying the moment. Thanks to the painter, he has been able to move on from the past but he is no longer projecting a future too. Therefore he rejects Jihwa by saying that he will never reciprocate his feelings. He has given up on the future hence he can stipulate that Jihwa and him can never be together in the future (“ever”). Actually the climax is reached in chapter 58 which chronologically happens after Jihwa’s love confession and his rejection. When the master confesses his feelings for the low-born, he declares to his lover, he is no longer expecting a love confession from him, it will remain an illusion. He is now embracing the painter’s philosophy. He is living in the moment, enjoying his time with him. That’s why I perceive this second wedding night stands under the sign of present too. The lord wants to love the painter selflessly and is expecting nothing in return. That’s the reason why the lord can sleep more peacefully during that night. He started moving on from the past before and is no longer dreaming of an uncertain and even impossible future. In chapter 35, the lord spent a terrible night as he was thinking how to reconnect with the painter (another reference to the future). These aspects are relevant in my opinion because it explicates why the lord hasn’t paid attention to his lover’s real desires or future yet. We know for sure that the low-born wanted to be able to read and write. He felt very embarrassed, when Seungho exposed his illiteracy. And now you understand why Baek Na-Kyum was left unprotected in the end. Because the lord was living more and more in the moment, he neglected the future and as such a real protection for his lover. As you can observe, in the beginning Seungho was a man living in the past but thanks to the artist, he transformed into a different person. And with Jihwa by his side, he could never move on from the past as the latter kept reminding him about it with the hope, they could be together one day. The problem was that with these actions, Seungho could never dream of any future as Jihwa kept him trapped in the past.
But after showing the difference between Seungho and Jihwa, it is time to return our attention to the artist. When Baek Na-Kyum is thinking about the love confession and his actual situation, he is able to recollect all the nice gestures Seungho did for him: asking for the doctor and buying for him the expensive medicine, giving him the warmest room, feeding him so well, giving him nice clothes, making sure that he is not wounded etc….
Now, we can definitely say that Baek Na-Kyum is no longer blind and deaf, since the pain caused by the scholar’s abandonment and betrayal vanished completely. Imagine, Jung In-Hun appears in just one memory and his words are used in order to outline Seungho’s kindness. This implies that Jung In-Hun has no impact in his life now, especially since the commoner dropped his doctrines for good. Yet it looks like he doesn’t resent his teacher at all, as he no longer thinks about him or feels the need to get revenge. And if he remembers him, then he associates him to fakeness. So this doesn’t signify that Jung In-Hun will have the same effect, when he returns to the mansion, in fact it means the opposite. The scholar has no power over the painter any longer, just like the memories proved it. Consequently the former teacher will experience a terrible surprise, when he returns, as Baek Na-Kyum will no longer treat him like his admired sir. I would even say, he will keep his distance from him. The scholar is actually expecting that the artist will forget his betrayal and abandonment, just like he did in the past. He still has the impression that he will be able to use Baek Na-Kyum like he did before. As you can observe, the painter is really forgiving in the end because despite the inflicted pain, he is not looking for revenge. Why is he like that? In my opinion, his positive attitude is strongly connected to the way he lives. He lives more in the moment hence he never holds grudges (Carpe diem), which contrasts so much to Jihwa’s behavior who utilizes it for his advantage. Observe that the noble brought up the past for his confession twice. Each time, he reproached his childhood friend’s behavior: a “manizer” and “reckless”. As you can observe, the past is used by Jihwa as a point for his defense or as legitimation for his wrongdoings. And this different behavior explains why Jihwa is constantly frustrated and dissatisfied with the present. The past could help him but only to a certain extent and his major flaw was that he was projecting himself into the future. He dreamt of a certain future with Seungho, showing a certain greediness and ambition. Hence he was unable to understand his friend’s pain and suffering as his desire prevailed, contrasting so much to Baek Na-Kyum’s humbleness and modesty, who only wanted to survive by painting. We could say that Baek Na-Kyum has always been more forgiving than any other character.
Therefore I have come to the deduction that Baek Na-Kyum will definitely show the same attitude towards Jihwa like he did with Seungho. At some point, he will forgive him for his kidnapping and the terrible treatment he suffered afterwards. Let’s not forget that the artist is now the one discovering the past and heard that Jihwa was considered sick as well. And this is no coincidence. For me, the artist will come to understand what Jihwa and Seungho went through and help them to move on. Like I pointed out above, the commoner has always been able to move on from the past and has never held deep grudges. For me, the artist will serve as a model for his lover and will show him and Jihwa what true forgiveness means. But I have to admit that this is more a prediction, yet based on my observations and interpretation.
But I have another explication why the painter is not clinging onto the past. It’s because if he does, he will feel hurt and he is not wrong. Jihwa and Seungho were and are trapped in the past hence they are still suffering and inflicting pain to others. Sure, the last betrayal was really so painful for the artist that he felt like he had died. The prostitute was the painter’s empty shell. However, when Seungho used sex and stimulated his body, the artist remembered that he was still a living human. His physical reactions made him realize that he felt pleasure and he was reminded to live in the moment. That’s why the low-born’s confession should be judged as another evidence of the painter’s philosophy.
Since the low-born is no longer thinking about the former teacher as he has no resent, the manhwalovers can deduce that the commoner has a bigger and more pure heart contrary to Jihwa’s. And when he is thinking outside in the cold, as if he wanted to clear his mind, he is relaxed and remembers carefully all the good deeds his lord did to him. Although he has problems to accept the obvious, the master has loved him for a long time, he blushes because he is definitely moved. Notice that even in that moment, he is not thinking about the future. What does it mean if Seungho loves him and confessed to him? How will their relationship change? At no moment, he is projecting himself and the lord in the future. And while looking at this panel, I couldn’t help myself connecting to the following picture from chapter 1. Thanks to the lord, the painter has also transformed. Instead of being drunk and not thinking, he has been able to paint and is thinking on his own. Now, he is not lying on the ground but sitting straight while pondering. He is still on his own but his solitude is here chosen and not forced. He left Seungho’s side in order to reflect about the master’s confession and love. And this is no coincidence that the painter’s former position is now mirrored by Jihwa’s. The latter is the one who has been rejected and abandoned by his surrogate “father”/lover. Their positions are quite similar, yet the only difference is that Jihwa is not even sitting on the wood. He is still kneeling as he has problems to process the rejection. He is in denial, although he remembers Seungho’s words. Since we know that he values the past so much, it is quite normal that Jihwa chooses to repress his friend’s explications. And now, you can imagine what I am about to tell. The chapter 59 is a new version of the chapter 1 which makes me think that something bad is about to occur, since we had the servant’s death in that episode. Another clue for this prediction is the color of Jihwa’s robe, when he faces the captured painter. He is wearing a black or dark grey cloth. One might argue that this is just reflecting Jihwa’s mood, as he has just been pushed away. He feels like dying, yet I judge it a little differently for Jihwa is not the one who chose the cloth, unlike in the past. This time, Nameless gave him the robe.
What caught my attention in the scene between Jihwa and Nameless is that even in front of the criminal, the red-haired aristocrat keeps talking about the past. First, he criticizes the commoner for not fulfilling his task. Then he reproaches the painter and wishes that the boy had disappeared. But what Jihwa failed to realize is that Nameless did it for a certain reason. He had noticed Jihwa’s anxieties and huge pangs of conscience. Right from the start, he started biting his nails and it got even worse, it was a clear sign that he was fearing the future. Nameless also saw how he would drink in order to ignore his remorse and fears. Even in chapter 51, Jihwa talked about the past (his drinking habit etc) again and while he is sitting in that cabin, he has the same attitude. Nameless must have noticed that the lord is always blaming others (the assassin, Baek Na-Kyum etc) and avoiding the present. That’s the reason why he brought him to the painter directly. Nameless has become the teacher Jihwa needed. The commoner is actually teaching him to live in the present hence he is put right in front of the painter. He needs to face the consequences of his own decisions. If Jihwa decides to eliminate the painter, then he will become responsible for the murder and his hands will indeed be soiled by blood. By asking him to murder the artist without being present, Jihwa can put the responsibility on the butcher but here, it is different. He will witness the direct repercussion of his words. He can no longer blame the low-born as he has already caught the painter. He is confronting the noble with the present. And observe that once with the terrible situation, he is indeed left speechless. I doubt that Jihwa will decide to kill Baek Na-Kyum. He will remember that Min wanted to taste the low-born and could choose to take revenge differently. By catching Baek Na-Kyum, Nameless shows to Seungho that the latter can’t live in the moment either as he has many enemies surrounding him. Nameless is a reminder that carpe diem has its faults too. The protagonist needs to prevent any mishap and attack in the future. That’s why I consider Nameless representing the future. I have to admit that I am even thinking that Nameless could be planning some revenge, behind all the crimes he committed which would contrast so much to all the other characters. As for Jihwa, his suffering has only started in my opinion as it resembles to the painter’s situation in chapter 1. He will definitely suffer much more and since the painter’s dream came true, we have to imagine that the noble’s nightmare could become a reality too. Observe that the characters’ position coincides strangely to the ones in the nightmare. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the painter will die but something terrible will happen during that night and it will affect Seungho terribly. I have always sensed that the loyal valet Kim could die and this fear is stronger than ever now. Yet, Jihwa could send the artist to Min. But even so, after the public confession and rejection, if the painter were to disappear, the lord would suspect Jihwa immediately but even the other nobles. Let’s not forget that Jihwa used rumors twice (chapter 18, 57) among the nobles. There is no doubt for me that Yoon Seungho will get upset and he will never accept that Baek Na-Kyum ran away, especially after that night where the artist accepted his confession and allowed him to love him. However, he won’t react like in chapter 30. He will blame himself for the first time. Unfortunately the future will be revealed in the next episode.
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7 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: Past, present and future – part 2”
Nameless est il le messager de la mort de la tragédie classique ?
Il est la rencontre initiatique pour jiwha, témoin extérieur mais en même temps conseiller, qui peut l’amener a réfléchir a ses actes, notamment en le mettant devant le fait (presque) accompli.
Pourtant, vous nous montrez depuis le début que les personnages sont beaucoup plus complexes qu’ils ne le paraissent en surface et que plusieurs lectures sont nécessaires pour comprendre les méandres de leurs êtres.
Nameless est machiavélique dans ses actes , donc son empathie pour jiwha ne cache t elle pas autre chose ?
Ce manga rend parano !…..
J’ai compris qu’il s’agit en général de montrer que la véritable noblesse est chez les roturiers et non chez les nobles, mais ce messager de la mort n’a t il pas d’autres desseins que d’être le “témoin” du déclin ?
I used Google Translate to read your message and the ones before. French is such a beautiful language, I am always fascinated by it :)) Anyways, your analysis is so well written and quite relevant. I envy you girls for having a wide literature culture and know exactly how to use it to interpret different projects. Bravo^^
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Je vous remercie. Mon anglais est mauvais et je suis souvent déçue par les traductions automatiques. J’avoue aussi avoir la flemme de faire la traduction moi même.
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Je recommande ce site: deepl.com. Je l’utilise pour mon travail.
I would recommend Deepl.com as for translation. A very precise tool which I am using for work.
Thanks for the analysis! Always a pleasure to read you. I feel like the author wanted to insist lately on how Jihwa is foolish. It’s probably for a reason. Maybe because there were more and more shippers for him and Namelss? Jihwa could only blame himself and his love for SH is not beautiful and romantic like some fans were writing but literally toxic. I won’t be surprised if he has something to do with the misery SH endured while young. Maybe Jihwa lied to the father? Interesting is that he actually does not know much about Lord Song. What was his role in all that… such a mystery. He might freak out and give up on the idea to kill Nakyum so he would put all the responsibility on Min and Nameless. Highly possible!
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Yes, Jihwa has many fans. Although I don’t like him very much, my perception has changed a little. For me, he will pay a huge price for his wrongdoings and bad decisions. He will be forced to grow up and take his own responsibility.