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/
Announcement: I updated the essay “Kim: a dog, a matchmaker or a father?”
You are probably wondering about the selection of such a title and its signification, especially if you are not familiar with physics. What is refraction exactly?
“Refraction is the bending of light when it goes from one medium to another so, when a ray of light passes through a glass prism, refraction of light occurs both, when it enters the prism as well as when it leaves the prism. Since the refracting surfaces are not parallel, therefore, the emergent ray and incident ray are not parallel to one another. In this case the ray of light is deviated on passing through the prism.” quoted from https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/refraction-of-light-through-a-glass-prism-1456391639-1#:~:text=Refraction%20is%20the%20bending%20of,when%20it%20leaves%20the%20prism.&text=In%20this%20case%20the%20ray,on%20passing%20through%20the%20prism.
People observe this phenomenon, when there’s a rainbow.
This spectacle can only occur, if there are rain and sunlight together. Due to the presence of water, the beholder perceive the existence of light, which is actually a combination of all colors. Although light seems colorless to our eyes, it is not correct. It is just that our brain is used to perceive light as such. Now, you are probably intrigued how I could associate the manhwa with laws of refraction, when the author never drew a rainbow. But refraction is not just limited to the rainbow. It is also perceptible under other circumstances, like for example: when the sunlight goes through a real glass prism
As you can observe, there’s a deviation and dispersion of the light through the glass prism. So when did the manhwaphiles witness this experience in Painter Of The Night?
Byeonduck applied laws of refraction in two episodes:
- chapter 55:
- chapter 74: Yes, the presence of the colorful bubbles are a sign of refraction.
And these episodes are quite important, for due to the refraction, the readers can finally perceive the presence of light and as such warmth. When the episode 55 was released, I had explained that these bubbles of light announced the revival of the lord’s body. He was no longer living as a zombie, he was finally becoming a real human. But only now, I’ve recognized the real signification of these bubbles of light. (chapter 55) I am not saying that my previous statement was wrong. It is just that I’ve realized the gravity of the lord’s wounds. Yoon Seungho opened the door of this bedchamber, which meant that he was letting the sunlight enter his room. This had a symbolical meaning: the noble was finally allowing the light to enter his inner world. That’s why in this chapter, the noble confessed. He was opening up to the painter and permitting him to see the darkness in his mind and heart. He was jealous and he expressed his murdering and suicidal thoughts (chapter 55), therefore he imagined that the painter would run away, too shocked by the obscurity of his inner world. And this signifies that until chapter 55, the lord’s soul and body were trapped in the darkness. Now, you might come to the conclusion that he was in a similar situation than Jihwa. Because the latter was figuratively deaf and blind, he had the impression to live trapped in a dark room, separated from the outside world. However, this is just a false perception. Jihwa was still in possession of his body, he could feel through his hands. Consequently, he could detect the presence of others. There’s no doubt that he felt lonely and was also lacking for warmth, however the protagonist was in the worst possible situation. He had been literally swallowed by the darkness. (chapter 74) He could feel nothing at all. Even his own mind was trapped in the darkness reinforced by his huge guilt triggered by father Yoon. Remember when I wrote that his body was covered by an armor, this referred to his loss of sensation. Imagine yourself in this situation: everything around you is dark and cold and you can feel nothing at all. No wonder why the lord came to believe that he was just a ghost. This is definitely the negative version of Blaise Pascal’s philosophy: cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am). Yoon Seungho could only recognize his existence through his thoughts. And the chapter 74 was terrible for two reasons: it unveils to the manwhaphiles how the lord became a ghost. We see him disappearing in this blackness step by step:
- His powerlessness in front of brutality. He can’t protect himself (chapter 74) He can no longer yell for help and use his leg in order to defend himself, which contrasts to the beginning of his nightmare. (chapter 74)
- Then when his body starts flying in his terrible vision (chapter 74), this displays that the noble is losing the control of his body which can be explained with the usage of drugs. But he is still feeling the touch.
- Then the hands are covering up his mouth indicating that he can no longer express himself (chapter 74), but at the same time, it indicates the loss of sensation. This panel symbolizes that he is no longer possessing his body at all. All he has left are his eyes.
- Even at the end, he loses his sight… (chapter 74) This is the last vision he has before his eyes are also trapped in the darkness.
So the manhwalovers have now to question themselves: How do you leave this darkness, when you are surrounded by it? It is impossible, you can’t even feel the warmth of a body, because even your sense of touch is dead. In order to perceive the presence of light, you need colors… like I explained above. Light is composed by all the colors. And that’s how the lord could slowly leave his state of torpor. When he saw the erotic panels from Baek Na-Kyum, he could see the light, as they embodied love and warmth. That’s why he became so “addicted” to the pictures. They stood in opposition to the world he had been exposed to: sex, not as prostitution, but as a symbol for affection and warmth. The “colors” from the paintings helped him to see the light. After this new interpretation, it becomes understandable why he treasured so much the artist’s hands.(chapter 1) They were the reason why he could see glimpses of light in the darkness of his world. And since he became trapped in the blackness due to hands of scholars and officials, it is not surprising why Baek Na-Kyum’s hands are healing him. Therefore, when the painter touched his chest with his hand (chapter 73), he purified his heart. This explicates why in chapter 74, the noble is no longer interested in sex. The hand liberated his heart and allowed him to express his affection differently. At the same time, the loving gaze in the painter is the reason why the lord feels warmth in the end. All he ever wanted was to see light, but he truly discovered it through the painter’s embrace. (chapter 21) That’s why even in the darkness of the room, he could only be moved. Therefore he was focused on the painter’s body in the first place. The warmth made him realize the existence of light next to his body.
So when Yoon Seungho met the commoner for the first time, his eyes were already healed, as his eyes were exposed to colors constantly. No wonder, why the main lead fell in love at first sight. He had every reason to love the protagonist. The latter had saved him through the colors, making him view glimpses of light. Hence he could feel alive again. But more importantly, he could sense in the pretty face genuineness and naturality. But what the main lead didn’t realize is that Baek Na-Kyum was his mirror and as such his reflection. In other words, he was his glass prism. Since the painter felt attracted to him, the lord saw in the first painting (chapter 2) that he was handsome and attractive. That’s why he could experience his sexual emancipation afterwards. A part of his self-hatred disappeared. However, in order to liberate the lord entirely from his darkness, he needed to drop his fathers’ doctrines, which represented the biggest problem. His healing process got delayed due to Kim’s interventions and the painter’s own indoctrination. Striking is that Baek Na-Kyum was entirely healed by the lord, even before the latter has properly recovered from his own traumas. This clearly outlines his selflessness in the end.
And now, if I compare the first bubbles (chapter 55) to the ones from chapter 74, you’ll detect a huge difference. While there are only three colors in the first image (white, red, blue), the bubbles from chapter 74 remind us more of the colors from a rainbow. This coincidence with the character’s development. Yoon Seungho is seeing more and more light in his mind and heart. In chapter 55, only his conscious allowed the warmth and light associated to the painter to enter his inner world. But it is not the same with the unconscious… only in chapter 74, the light is entering his unconscious which explains why he is slowly remembering what happened to him. The lord can finally perceive his nightmares, while in the past they were just connected to terrible sensations. (chapter 38) I doubt that in chapter 38 and 59, he saw images. Due to the darkness of his inner world, he came to repress the horror he was exposed to. Thus it is not surprising that Yoon Seungho is not sleeping next to the painter, even after that night. (chapter 74) He still has this fear that Baek Na-Kyum might get affected by the blackness of his unconscious. At the same time, when he is facing the sleeping artist, it gives him comfort. Remember that the low-born is the glass prism of Yoon Seungho, hence his peaceful sleep helps the lord to relax. Note that he is lying in a fetal position, an indication of the return of his innocence. There’s no doubt that the visits in the painter’s study during the night (chapter 74) help the lord to relax and move on from his insomnia. Since he is now seeing light and feeling warmth thanks to the painter’s presence, he no longer feels the need for physical intimacy. Hence the lord can’t restrain himself showering Baek Na-Kyum with affection and care. However Yoon Seungho is not realizing that thanks to the artist, he is finally able to show his true self: a phoenix who got burnt by selfish and greedy people. This explicates why Yoon Seungho still perceives himself as a bad omen, because he can still see the blackness in himself. On the other side, this truly exposes the ravages caused by the traumatic experiences. From a sensitive, gentle, selfless and intelligent man, he became the opposite, reflecting the real image of the ones who destroyed him.
The irony is that the lord is not aware of his own transformation. In his mind, the painter has become his sun, hence he gave him a yellow-orange scarf. (chapter 74). When he sees the light next to the painter, he has the impression that it comes from the artist, while in reality, the painter is just mirroring his own light and warmth. Remember that the mirror in the manhwa has the form of the glass prism described above: (chapter 28) And in this panel (chapter 74), it is particularly visible, as the light coming from Yoon Seungho is reflected in the painter (glass prism), hence the colors are behind the artist’s head. This is not surprising why Baek Na-Kyum is so affected. Everything from Yoon Seungho is exuding love and care. At the same time, the lord serves also as a mirror for the painter. The latter can only sense love and warmth in the lord’s face and gaze. (chapter 74) He can only be smitten. But since the lord is also the glass prism for the painter, you can observe the refraction in this panel: (chapter 74) The painter’s affection is literally shining through the lord so that colors appear behind the lord’s back. The diversion becomes obvious for the readers, who are the beholders of such a phenomenon This is not surprising that the painter is falling more and more for Yoon Seungho. That’s why he blushes after a good night kiss. (chapter 74) He is now even longing for Yoon Seungho’s warmth, hence he stands up during the night and looks at the light in the lord’s chamber. (chapter 74) However, the lord is keeping his distance due to the darkness still existing in his unconscious. He fears that this could represent a nuisance to the painter’s peaceful sleep. Moreover, he still perceives himself as impure contrary to Baek Na-Kyum. What the lord fails to recognize is that the artist seems to have sleeping trouble now, because he is longing for his lover’s warmth too, another clue for the painter’s thirst for love and strong libido. There’s no doubt that as long as the commoner doesn’t claim the lord’s bed as his own and expresses the wish to share the bed with his lover, the latter will never suggest this to Baek Na-Kyum.
Because the lord allowed the light from the painter to enter his spirit and heart, he is shining like a sun, which coincides with the animal embodying the noble: the Phoenix. In other words, the nightmare from the aristocrat should be judged as a necessary healing process. (chapter 74) Slowly, the lord is getting rid of the blackness. He is turning his light to the Earth, the painter, mistaking his lover for a sun. Their blossoming love will definitely bring the artist to improve his talent and creativity. But it will have the same effect on the noble. The longer Yoon Seungho is spending his time with Baek Na-Kyum, the better the lord can perceive the colors and light. Through art, the noble will rediscover his lost passion: painting and even poetry. And in my opinion, in order to reconnect to painting, the lord needs to sense the colors for real. The painting in his nightmare was made of black ink and nothing more. (chapter 74)
Both are so fascinated by the colors coming from the refraction that they are seeing the world in bright colors now. However, their fascination for the light makes them careless. They are not paying attention to their surroundings. (chapter 74) In their innocence, they are not realizing that if there’s light, there exists darkness too. Consequently, they don’t detect that darkness is already gathering around them, preparing for the next attack. From my point of view, the darkness should be perceived either as an eclipse or as clouds. Imagine the lord’s reaction, when he loses his prism glass, he will feel definitely devastated. However, there is one thing that even darkness couldn’t destroy after all these years: the lord’s intelligence. He might have acted stupidly during the second season, but his mind was clouded by his emotions. Now that he knows that the painter chose him and is no longer pushing him away, he will be able to use his brain properly. He has more evidences for that. Baek Na-Kyum allowed him to put the scarf properly. Observe the difference between the first (chapter 74) and second image. (chapter 74) The knot is different and he has now a hat. The noble put the scarf exactly like in chapter 69. (chapter 69) Moreover, the new headgear, reserved for women, is a sign that Baek Na-Kyum is accepting his marriage officially. (chapter 74) Hence there is no ambiguity that his disappearance will lead to an investigation and Yoon Seungho will interrogate his staff. Finally, neither an eclipse nor the clouds can truly separate the sun from the Earth, consequently they won’t be able to disrupt this harmonious relationship for long. As a conclusion, the painter as a representative of all virtues could only become Yoon Seungho’s savior, as he brought light into his darkness. This explicates why Yoon Seungho views the commoner as his god and lord. (chapter 71) He was as strong as a god, when he entered his obscure world. No wonder why the noble is so humble and thankful towards his lover. He brought him back to life, hence his life can only revolve around the painter from now on. The sun will never sense his own light and warmth, unless it witnesses how the nature on Earth is blossoming. It needs the existence of another planet to realize the existence of its own heat.
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 instagram-tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.