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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I have to admit that I kept an information hidden all this time, because I was waiting for the chapter 71. And now, it is time to reveal it: the significance of the five candles. You certainly remember that the number 2 is associated to woman, while 3 represent a man. What does it mean? 2 + 3 = 5. Five symbolizes a marriage. This explicates why The Pythagoreans thought of five as the marriage between heaven and earth.
And if the manhwaphiles are aware of Asian wedding ceremony, they will recognize that in a wedding ceremony, they have to kowtow 3 times: first to earth and heaven, then to the parents, to each other. On the wedding day, the couple needs to first kowtow to the heaven and earth, this is to pay respect to gods and ancestors. They also need to thank the parents for taking care of them until now, hence they have to bow to their parents. Finally, to show respect to each other, the couple will kowtow to each other.
As you can imagine, the protagonists’ marriage started with the first nuptial night, when the groom visited the bride’s study. (chapter 20) Note that he was even accompanied with Kim, which became a witness of their marriage. This corresponds to the first kowtow. That’s why the author gave us such a panel: (chapter 21) The earth is symbolized by the house and the ground, while heaven (air) is embodied by the rain and the thunder. During this night, the painter and the lord discovered love and sensuality. Yet their wedding was not completed for two reasons. Remember that the main characters possess all the elements: the painter is associated to Earth and water, while the lord is related to fire and air. Yet, if you pay attention to the image above, you’ll notice that one element is missing: fire. The “painterofthenightphiles” can now realize why this night stood under the sign of illusion. Something was missing, real warmth and love. Yoon Seungho had not even realized his own feelings. Besides, let’s not forget that the noble was quite rough during that night. He only became really tender, after he had witnessed the painter’s tears, tears of happiness.(chapter 21) The real reason for the “failure” is that one was drunk, while the other was impersonating the scholar. Both were not true to themselves. That’s why they couldn’t start a real relationship.
Then the second bow corresponds to the love session in chapter 58: (chapter 58) this time, the lord confesses, but both don’t look at each other. Note, that during this night the lord is pining down the artist, as if he was afraid that Baek Na-Kyum would reject him and escape from him. The lord’s armor was just ruined, but not removed. As for the painter, he was still doubtful due to his own insecurities: destined to be a prostitute. But more importantly, the second kowtow is to the parents. And in my opinion, this was illustrated with this picture: (chapter 58) The shoes are an indication of their different origins, the noble and the low-born. Here again, we have a witness: the butler who is represented by the bucket of water. And if you compare this panel to the one from chapter 21, you’ll notice that one element is missing again: the air. We have now the presence of water, the fire and the earth through the house. But since there is no sky and as such no moon, I come to the conclusion that their union couldn’t be celebrated, because the lord wasn’t still honest to himself. He hadn’t dropped his fathers’ principles completely.
As you can imagine, the last bow is addressed to the partner. The groom and the bride are showing through this gesture that they respect each other. The respect is truly palpable in chapter 71. (chapter 71)
The painter as the bride has the right to refuse. Note that this scene is a reflection of the painter’s kiss during their first night. Back then, the lord waited some time before kissing back. (chapter 20) With such an approach, the noble couldn’t truly object, his mouth was shut with a kiss. Anyway, this time Yoon Seungho gives him space and time to ponder about this. What caught my attention is that the artist bites his lip (chapter 71) while pondering. This gesture is important, as it has two significations: the painter is wondering if this situation is real. He doesn’t even trust his own senses which is totally normal, after living for so long with the loss of his body and senses. Secondly, it exposes his last inner struggle. Should he follow his instincts? Striking is that the low-born’s conscious is the one who makes the final decision. His critical thinking and free mind allow him to perceive the truth. First, he was never in love with the scholar. (chapter 71) I consider this picture as a proof of my interpretation. The kisaeng approached Baek Na-Kyum because of the teacher, who kept using the boy in order to enter kisaeng house. Observe that “chosen out of desperation” stands below the words from the sister, exposing that he sensed that her choice was motivated by something else, or better said, by someone else. The sister influenced the artist to believe that he was in love with Jung In-Hun so that she could maintain her closeness to the scholar. At the same time, the teacher acted, as if he was honorable, so that the kisaeng had the impression that the artist would never truly outlive his sexuality. For her, it was the perfect solution. The low noble wouldn’t fall into sodomy, but maintain a platonic relationship with the boy, allowing her to remain by his side. However, this illusion only lasted, until the painter had to leave the kisaeng house. That’s why he was cornered in the end. (chapter 71) And this situation (being cornered) reoccurred, when he moved in Yoon Seungho’s mansion. It was the same again… Jung In-Hun pressuring him, until he revealed his true thoughts: jealousy and contempt. For the first time, Baek Na-Kyum is detecting genuine affection and it comes from Yoon Seungho and nobody else!! (chapter 71) This is a huge step for the artist. He realized that even Heena noona was not selfless in the end. As you can imagine, my last analysis called “love, embrace and caress” was validated with this new chapter. But the respect is not just visible through the words, but also through the actions. We could say that we have indeed two bows: (chapter 71) First, we have the lord, then later the painter, (chapter 71) as the latter has to look up. Finally, we have the groom bringing his own bride to the nuptial bedchamber: (chapter 71) And just like in the first two kowtows, there’s a witness: Kim who is listening behind the door. (chapter 71) Since this night represents the union between a noble and a commoner, the social status are switched indicating that they are now both lord and low-born simultaneously. (chapter 71) And this night announces the completion of their marriage ceremony. The most beautiful aspect is that the lord brought the painter to his own bedchamber, indicating that Baek Na-Kyum has been chosen as his official “wife”. At the same time, the conversation in the bathroom exposes that the artist chose Yoon Seungho as his groom as well. (chapter 71) This image illustrates how the artist decided to listen to his heart. That’s why the readers can hear the artist’s heartbeat. His heart is racing so much that he blushed. Moreover, he can identify that the racing is not caused by fear, but by the lord’s affection. In other words, because Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum chose each other, they are now married.
Since the three bows are related to love, the manhwaphiles are able to comprehend the signification of this marriage. It is not a marriage of convenience, but of love, which is quite extraordinary in this historical period. Back then, love had nothing to do with it, in particular for nobles.
(chapter 71) The place of their official union is the lord’s bedchamber. When Byeonduck drew this image, she didn’t just want to illustrate the nuptial night. What caught my attention is that now all the elements are represented. The earth (house) and water (snow) which are associated to the painter are present, just like the moon (air) and the fire (light in the bedroom) embodying the lord. This image mirrors the balance and harmony, the sky occupies the top half of the picture, whereas the mansion occupies the bottom part. Their marriage is now completed and a painting will become the official document of their union. Under this new light, it becomes clear why the lord never got to see a picture of their first night together, the wedding ceremony was not completed.
Remember what I wrote previously, the lord would shower the painter with kisses and caresses so that Baek Na-Kyum wouldn’t be able to resist, since physical touch is the painter’s most sensitive sense. And chapter 71 proved my prediction and elaboration correct. But there was another reason for that. (chapter 71) The five candles again!
5 represents the human being. Why? It is because you add the body parts together (one head, 2 legs, 2 arms), you end up with 5 again. Secondly, the manhwaphiles should remember that we have 5 senses. And now, it becomes clear what the chapter 70 announced: the real marriage between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum because of their physical intimacy. Both had finally recovered all their senses and their mind as well. They were no longer under the influence of their unconscious, because this time, they possess their own body and their mind for real. With this new interpretation, the manhwalovers can grasp why the protagonists were suffering so much in the end. Due to the loss of their bodies and mind, their unconscious was the only way to send them a signal that they were not living like they should. And both are now liberated and can witness how the caresses and kisses affect each other. It already starts in the bathroom. The lord touches the artist’s phallus with his tongue (chapter 71), he is caressing it. He is not focused on ejaculation like in chapter 36. (chapter 36) That’s why he doesn’t use his hand here, only his mouth. It was as if he was kissing the penis. He is taking his time, his ultimate goal is to procure pleasure, hence we have a lot of panels with the master’s tongue on the phallus. That’s why later the lord interrogates if he liked his anal licking. (chapter 71) Everything is done to give pleasure to the painter: the kisses and the caresses. Yoon Seungho desires to give his love to the painter. (chapter 71) This chapter is not just an illustration of a marriage, it shows us two men who are finally themselves, giving affection to each other with kisses and caresses. This signification is perceptible with the following panel: (chapter 71) Note that the painter is stroking the lord’s chest, while they both kiss each other. And this is not surprising that at the end, both protagonists close their eyes while kissing. (chapter 71) Both trust each other, they are no longer insecure, as they saw, heard and sensed the affection through the gestures and words. Yoon Seungho could only be happy to see that the artist was blushing due to him. Moreover, the low-born had several ejaculations without any penetration, exposing that this was not just a physical reaction. What caught my attention is the appearance of the master’s blushing. First, it started with the ear in chapter 70 (chapter 70) and the redness has now reached his temple and cheek. Therefore I deduce that the manhwaphiles will witness the lord’s real blushing. As a conclusion, this wonderful night will help the lord to heal completely. By changing his approach, he obtained exactly what he desired the most: to be chosen. His dream came a reality. (chapter 71) The man, Baek Na-Kyum, chose his bride, Yoon Seungho… since the latter is linked to the number 2, while the other is associated to manhood due to the number 3. And this final image announces the final step to their marriage. The wedding will be now completed, and red as the color of Asian wedding ceremony is present. First, we have the painter’s red shirt and later the blushing on both faces. (chapter 71)
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