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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While I was reading the manhwa again, the scene when the lord caressed the painter’s cheek in chapter 18/19 caught my attention. Striking is that neither the noble nor the painter cared too much about that gesture. The artist was too shocked due to the huge scandal, and the main lead had the impression, he just wanted to taste the artist out of curiosity and interest. So there was no deep meaning in the caress, yet this gesture was witnessed by the scholar Jung In-Hun. (Chapter 18) And this not only shocked him, but more importantly, it really made him jealous.
1. The scholar’s jealousy
Imagine, he was upset, because the painter had been the recipient of a caress from the powerful noble. Yet, he didn’t feel repulsed, just displeased and resentful But if he was jealous, then it signifies that he desired to have received this mark of attention. That’s the reason why I come to the conclusion, Jung In-Hun would have even accepted the noble’s advances, if it meant that he would get some benefit from it. And this interpretation is even confirmed, when you compare it with its reflection in chapter 35.
2. The comparison of the caress on the cheek
Here, we have a reversed situation. Exactly like the main character, he strokes the artist’s cheek, while he seems not to be aware that he is observed by Yoon Seungho. However, unlike in chapter 19, the caress has a huge signification. Jung In-Hun is faking affection in order to achieve his goal: the painter should spy on the benefactor on his behalf. Consequently, before he leaves the mansion, he reminds him of his request. (Chapter 35) In other words, although the caress from Yoon Seungho was anodyne, his gentleness was genuine, whereas it is the opposite with the teacher’s stroke. Moreover, if you compare the vocabulary field, you’ll notice the contrast: duty/work versus entertainment. And although the low noble is aware that Baek Na-Kyum has been very ill, he just sends him back to his “work”. He makes sure that the artist doesn’t fall for the lord’s generosity. He should remember that this is just work, and not entertainment. Moreover, the teacher reminds the painter of his promise: he is his servant. As the manhwaphiles can detect, in chapter 19, Jung In-Hun was already jealous of the painter, because he was receiving the lord’s attention and affection. But this was just a caress, therefore envision how he must have felt, when he heard this from the painter: (chapter 35) He must have realized that he was on the verge of losing the artist’s favors. That’s why he reminded the painter of his “loyalty” and “promise”. In chapter 35, Yoon Seungho was the one jealous, hence imagine the resent and jealousy Jung In-Hun must have felt in chapter 19. Yoon Seungho had even cut ties with another aristocrat due to the low-born. But unlike the scholar, Yoon Seungho’s jealousy was much more intensive to the point he would have killed the artist, if he had set a foot outside the mansion, though I doubt that he would have done it for real. But why are these characters jealous?
3. Jealousy: its origins and consequences
I made some research about the origin of jealousy and this is was I discovered: This feeling appears, when someone feels insecure in his relationship with another person due to the appearance of a third person. And if we take this definition into consideration, then the scholar’s jealousy is triggered by two aspects. First, he resents the artist, because he caught the lord’s attention. Yet there is more to it. He resents the low-born, as the latter seems to have escaped his control. Let’s not forget that Baek Na-Kyum allowed another man to touch his cheek. For the first time, Jung In-Hun saw another man getting closer to Baek Na-Kyum, indicating that his influence over the artist was diminishing. The readers shouldn’t forget that the scholar enjoyed it very much to use the low-born as his puppet. In the past, Baek Na-Kyum would always follow his orders, yet with this anodyne gesture, Jung In-Hun realized that something had changed. That’s the reason why he had to blame the painter for this, and accused him of seducing the main lead. (Chapter 19) In truth, he projected his own thoughts onto the painter. He wanted to be the one getting closer to the powerful aristocrat, and would do anything in exchange for his own interests. Simultaneously, he needed the artist to remain obedient and loyal, so that he wouldn’t become a rival. And now, if we examine the protagonist’s jealousy in chapter 35 with this definition, we recognize that it is related to the sex marathon. Yoon Seungho had envisaged that after that event, the painter had finally accepted him as his partner, and their relationship had changed. Besides, after his return, Baek Na-Kyum had been in his bed and had never reproached the sexual encounter leading to his illness. Therefore, he had envisaged that the commoner was slowly accepting him.
While many think, jealousy is terrible, evolutionary psychologists regard it as a necessary emotion, because it helps people to preserve their social bonds and motivate them to improve their relationship, since it serves as a wake-up call for the affected person. And if you pay attention to Yoon Seungho’s behavior, you’ll indeed sense that right after feeling jealous, he tries his best to improve his relationship with the painter. In chapter 35, he compliments the painter , approaches him and smiles to him. (Chapter 35) Moreover, he caresses his head (chapter 35) after finally asking him about his interest. This scene made him realize that he needed to get to know Baek Na-Kyum better, and their relationship shouldn’t only be limited to sex. Hence he invited the painter to his bedchamber that night. In my opinion, he really hoped to initiate a conversation. That’s the reason why he was writing something, he hoped that Baek Na-Kyum would ask, but due to the aphrodisiac and the “warning” from Kim, the artist didn’t dare to speak. As a conclusion, we could say, Kim would have totally succeeded to ruin Yoon Seungho’s plan, if the brother hadn’t appeared that night. At the end, Baek Na-Kyum did earn the lord’s trust, he was able to sleep by the lord’s side.
4. Heena and Yoon Seungho’s jealousy
And now, with the release of chapter 69, we have a reflection from these two chapters. We see two jealous persons, Heena noona and Yoon Seungho, the kisaeng is replacing the teacher. Yet, there’s a huge change. Why? While Baek Na-Kyum in the past would trust his adoptive parents and follow them blindly(chapter 35) (chapter 46), we see the painter deciding his own fate. He prefers remaining in the mansion. Not only he is no longer listening to his parents, but also he becomes proactive. He gives his noona his own scarf, a sign that he is now old enough to take care of her. (Chapter 69) He is no longer a child. In reality, this gesture has so much meaning. With this tender gesture, he desires to end the discussion. Notice that she keeps pressuring him (chapter 69), illustrating that she is still not giving up on her adoptive son. Since the chapter 19 is a reflection of episode 69, I believe that Heena noona’s behavior is indeed motivated by jealousy. Imagine, for the first time, her son doesn’t obey her, while in the past, even if he admired the teacher, the latter never represented a threat to her relationship with her son. For the first time, he has refused her help (chapter 68) and pushed her hand away, a huge shock for the kisaeng. (Chapter 68) For her, the only explanation can be the negative influence of Yoon Seungho. And because she attempts to change the painter’s mind just before leaving, Baek Na-Kyum stops her by smiling. He is trying to reassure her that he is fine. (Chapter 69) But she doesn’t trust her son’s judgement. She believes, she knows what is right for her son. Therefore, her last words exposes her true intentions. She won’t respect the artist’s choice. (Chapter 69) She thinks of herself as her son’s savior, whereas in reality, she will jeopardize Baek Na-Kyum’s safety. There’s no doubt that she will be manipulated by Min and Kim. Due to his kind words, she has already judged him as a good man (chapter 67), unaware that she is trusting a terrible servant who is determined to hurt her son. This reminds us of the chapter 35, where Jung In-Hun risked the painter’s life. I have to admit that after comparing the scene from episode 19 with 35, I had the impression that Jung In-Hun could have been demonstrating his affection in order to show off to the lord that the painter would only listen to him. Let’s not forget that in chapter 30, the teacher tried to sell off Baek Na-Kyum by telling Yoon Seungho that the artist would only obey to him. And in both cases, Jung In-Hun never recognized the real situation: he was putting his life in danger. And observe that we have many parallels in chapter 69 with chapter 30 as well. We have the painter’s intervention (chapter 69), when he senses that Heena noona keeps challenging Yoon Seungho by refusing to recognize his benevolence and her wrongdoing. Here again, he speaks to the main lead in order to deescalate the situation. While in chapter 30, he feared the main lead, (chapter 30) yet he desired to protect his learned sir, in episode 69 we have a reversed situation. The one menacing is the kisaeng, and not the lord. The latter steps back, as he knows that he did something wrong to his lover. Baek Na-Kyum could have exposed his brutality. However, due to Yoon Seungho’s past action, Baek Na-Kyum has learned to fear the noble’s power and strength. Hence he intervenes, because he wishes to protect his noona. (Chapter 69) Nevertheless the readers can sense that the artist is feeling more uncomfortable than scared. Moreover, his sincerity and his thoughtfulness is palpable. He is indeed recognizing the lord’s leniency. (Chapter 69) Another similarity is the constant blushing of the painter, the lord’s action and words surprise him. Therefore there is this awkward moment, for both protagonists are trying to figure out the situation. The lord never expected a thank you from the low-born, especially after receiving such a mistreatment. (chapter 69)
In chapter 35, he detected his exhaustion and honesty, but he felt indeed affected by his presence. Nonetheless, the cause of his reddening diverges here. (chapter 69) He is not just affected by the main lead’s appearance, but also by his gestures. Baek Na-Kyum is finally able to see the kindness in Yoon Seungho. First, he did keep his promise to the artist. He restrained himself to punish the kisaeng. Secondly, he put himself the scarf around the low-born’s neck, which is quite extraordinary. The manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget that Yoon Seungho is actually lowering himself by acting so, he prioritizes the commoner. This is not surprising that at the end, Baek Na-Kyum can’t help himself blushing. (Chapter 69) Unlike in the past, Yoon Seungho is willing to trust the painter by his actions and words. Therefore he emphasizes this: (chapter 69) “I do believe”. He has learnt his lesson. He recognized that his judgement had been clouded by his insecurities and jealousy. That’s why he stares at the painter, when the latter is looking at his mother walking away. (Chapter 69) He notices the artist’s concern and attention towards his mother. This explicates why he allows the painter to follow the kisaeng to the front gate. However, as you can observe it, the painter is not realizing that the lord is paying attention to his facial expressions. In my opinion, Yoon Seungho is trying to make the painter smile, when he gives his consent.
Let’s not forget that in chapter 44, he did ask Jung In-hun to bid farewell to Baek Na-Kyum, but the latter never cared for the boy. Yet, Yoon Seungho is only at the beginning to trust the painter entirely, hence he asks him to remain in his sight. (chapter 69) This explains why he asks him to follow his mother only to the front gate. That’s the limit of his trust. I would even add, he can’t bear Baek Na-Kyum out of sight. That’s how much he loves him. He needs to feel his presence close to him. And exactly like in chapter 35, the readers sense the importance of the door. While in episode 35, the gate was associated to life or death, now the door symbolizes trust. Within the building, he will put his faith in the artist’s words. Finally, we have another allusion to chapter 35: the reference to coldness. (chapter 35) And this parallel reinforces my perception about the valet. He is a hypocrite, because he incited the lord to go to the window, while claiming that it was cold. That’s why I perceive the chapter 69 as a good sign. Yoon Seungho is definitely willing to trust the painter. He let him make his own choice, and the moment Baek Na-Kyum expressed that he was not leaving the mansion (chapter 69), the lord could only feel relieved. That’s why he had a softer gaze right after. (Chapter 69) He was definitely happy that the commoner had chosen him. However, there’s still awkwardness between them, hence the noble can’t entirely trust him. And this lack of trust becomes a reality, when in chapter 80, the manhwaphiles witness that Yoon Seungho had threatened the kisaeng behind the painter’s back. (Chapter 80) He had once again listened to the butler’s advice… How can I be so sure? It is because the real author of the threat was the butler and not the lord. (chapter 69) Yoon Seungho will never order someone to eliminate a person. He will always use his own hands. We have many evidences for this: the hunt and the scenes with the sword. (chapter 69) The tragedy is that in the courtyard, the artist made the lord this promise: (chapter 69) He would remain by the lord’s side, but the lord still didn’t trust the artist’s words. And now, it is time to examine the origin of Yoon Seungho’s jealousy and lack of trust.
5. The real cause for the lord’s jealousy
As you can imagine, the answer is quite simple. It’s Kim. The latter has always been mistrusting people, he always felt insecure. In other words, he was jealous. This signifies that deep down, he always wanted to keep the noble’s attention and affection. That’s the reason why he revealed the incident with the door to father Yoon. (chapter 77) The young boy was looking at someone else. He would stop looking at him like that. (chapter 57) The butler would lose his influence over the boy. Under this new light, you comprehend why he decided to betray father Yoon after the straw mat beating. The young boy was rejecting him and despising him. (chapter 77) Yoon Seungho’s gaze was telling all his emotions and thoughts. That’s the reason why the butler isolated his master for so many years. And note that in chapter 69, he projected his own thoughts onto the painter again. Since the butler has always backstabbed, betrayed and abandoned Yoon Seungho, he imagined that the artist would have a change of heart too… like Kim always did in the past. Naturally, this is the negative version of a change of heart: not compassion and remorse, but resent and jealousy!!
And now, you comprehend why the bride’s abduction has to take place right now. Kim is not only on the verge of losing his home… but also he has lost his master’s love and affection. He is no longer looking at him. For the first time, he was punished which had never happened before. (chapter 77) If the painter leaves the mansion, the butler will make sure to portray the painter in a negative light. But there’s one thing that Kim overlooked: Yoon Seungho’s ability to learn!! Remember that jealousy is there to make the partner realize that he needs to improve his behavior. Since he mistrusted the painter’s choice, he realized later that he needed to earn the artist’s trust first. Therefore he made the following promises: (chapter 70) and he would always ask for the artist’s consent. (chapter 71). Furthermore, the artist’s reproach in the tavern (chapter 75) must have been an eye-opener for the wealthy aristocrat as well. How can he expect “loyalty and trust” from Baek Na-Kyum, if he is himself a fickle man by nature? With such words, the artist encouraged the lord to stop wavering and doubting his lover. He needed to show his love and trust first, before expecting it right away from the low-born. And now, you comprehend why Yoon Seungho started courting Baek Na-Kyum. He needed to show his trust and love in order to obtain it. And in chapter 80, he finally succeeded it. Therefore the bride’s abduction is doomed to failure. Kim won’t be able to achieve his goal. However, there’s one thing that this incident will make the lord recognize that he trusted the wrong person. He should never have listened to the butler’s advice and threatened the kisaeng, because this meant that he was mistrusting his lover!
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