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
It would be great if you could make some donations/sponsoring: Ko-fi.com/bebebisous33 That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas. Besides, I need to cover up the expenses for this blog.
Anyone asked how many paintings were ruined in the manhwa would reply that there exist only two of them. The first was exposed in chapter 2 . Yoon Seungho discovered the ripped picture, while the painter was sleeping. As for the second, which Lee Jihwa had ruined by pouring water on it, the painter had made the discovery just before the host‘s arrival. In both cases, the lord‘s portrait was damaged. His body was either partially destroyed or blurred. (Chapter 11)
1. The symbolism of the ruined pictures
Then it occurred to me that the ruined paintings could have a symbolic meaning. They would reflect the main lead‘s mental health. This was not his true self. In verity, he was a broken man, hence his body had vanished. According to me, in the beginning of the story, he was suffering from erectile dysfunction. (chapter 2) Striking is that in the first painting, the main lead couldn’t see his back or his naked butt. For me, this was announcing that Yoon Seungho would never be an uke again. Furthermore, the lord‘s gaze was covered by a slap of paper, reminding me of Baek Na-Kyum’s white headband. Thus I view the piece of paper on the lord’s head and eye as a sign of his mental servitude. The hidden gaze was showing that his mind was somehow trapped. Because the eyes are the mirror of the soul, Yoon Seungho needed to discover his own gaze in order to recognize not only his own attraction, but also the existence of his own identity. (chapter 3) The painting was showing him that he was not a plaything! That‘s the reason why he felt aroused afterwards. For the first time, he had his own urges and desires. In other words, the ruined painting was part of the lord’s therapy, it was pushing him to look at his actual mental state. The damaged picture was inciting him to change so that his broken body would recover. At the same time, since it was a picture, it helped him to feel safe. Therefore it is no coincidence that the lord had no huge flashback in season 1! In chapter 38, he still could control his panic attack, for he had the painter by his side. It was necessary for him to develop strength and confidence before facing his biggest tormentor: lord Song, the pedophile. And now, you comprehend why Yoon Seungho met father Lee before Yoon Chang-Hyeon. This was part of his exposure therapy. This indicates how the noble views the patriarchs responsible for his own suffering. However, I doubt that the young noble was aware of the true degree of father Lee’s guilt.
And now, you are wondering what could be the meaning of the second ruined picture. (chapter 44) My interpretation is the following. The author was revealing the presence of brainwashing!! This is no coincidence that the picture was ruined by water. (chapter 12) Furthermore, don’t forget that Yoon Seungho had been perceived as a sodomite because of Lee Jihwa in the past. This signifies that the red-haired master was undoing his wrong. It was, as if he was now purifying the main lead. At the same time, the water had another symbolic function: to bring to the surface Yoon Seungho’s traumas. This explicates why he got so mad in the study. For the first time, he was allowed to voice his emotions. On the other hand, not only Yoon Seungho’s portrait got ruined, but also Min and his friend. (chapter 44) They were all acting the same: obsessed with lust. This shows that the protagonist was not the only one who had been badly influenced. Yet there exists a huge difference between our beloved aristocrat and the two other masters. Black Heart and his companion were losing their identity, for the beholder couldn’t see their faces. That way, Baek Na-Kyum could project himself into the uke on the right side. In other words, the picture was predicting the future evolution. Min was not realizing that he was slowly vanishing, he was becoming more and more the male kisaeng for the protagonist. Hence it is not surprising that the young lord organized a huge sex party in his domain. (chapter 33) We could say that his house was slowly transformed into a brothel. Besides, I would like the readers to keep in their mind the Joker’s statement in the inn which seems to confirm this impression: (chapter 92). Yet, like mentioned in one my previous analyses, I discovered that Min was suffering from an erectile dysfunction. This explicates why he couldn’t have sex with the painter. And now, pay attention to the painting once again. The latter was showing that The Joker had actually taken Yoon Seungho’s position in the end. He was now reduced to be a bottom. Thus it occurred to me that Heena tried to run away from the kisaeng house, because she was rejecting sex. According to me, she had planned to stay in Black Heart’s mansion. She definitely hoped that she would escape prostitution thanks to her brother, but the opposite could actually happen, especially the moment Black Heart’s death is revealed. Someone could take over his domain: lord Song for example.😦
But let’s return our attention to the second ruined image. By pouring water on the nobles in the picture, Lee Jihwa never recognized the signification of his gesture. He was showing the powerlessness of the nobles! We could say that they got cursed to become shadows of themselves. One had sexual issues, while the other became a drug addict. Under this new light, the readers can grasp why afterwards Yoon Seungho had no problem to punch The Joker and to evict his guests in season 2 . (chapter 44) I believe that the ruined painting encouraged him to voice his emotions and thoughts, to act like a lord… because so far, he had been trained to live like a slave, a commoner. In that moment, he felt so powerful that he threatened to kill a scholar and the painter. (chapter 11) He was speaking like the king, the pedophile. His words were actually divulging the brainwashing. And that would be the reflection within the same chapter. What caught my attention is that contrary to the first painting, Yoon Seungho’s gaze was not covered. In fact, this was the only part that looked undamaged. Hence the beholder could still identity him. From my point of view, Byeonduck had two reasons for protecting his eyes. First, the vivid gaze was exposing the slowly recovery from the protagonist. He has now an identity which stands in opposition to the paintings in the publication where you could only see his back, butt and his long braided hair. (chapter 1) In the image from chapter 11, the beholder could sense the noble’s true desires despite the “brainwashing”. He was looking at the painter, the invisible hand. The latter was like a ghost. Secondly, the lord’s gaze was spared in order to confront the father! Yoon Chang-Hyeon had to recognize his son in order to be faced with his own sins!
2. Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s rage
Like I had pointed out in my first essay about the father, the latter was upset, for he was forced to see the consequences of his decisions. The picture was showing his hypocrisy. He was responsible that Yoon Seungho was living in debauchery. Hence it is no coincidence that in this scene, Byeonduck showed us the patriarch’s hand. (chapter 44) Yet the man would never admit that he had been the helping hand of „lord Song“, which stands in opposition to Baek Na-Kyum who was acting as Yoon Seungho’s therapist. Besides, like mentioned above, the artist was the invisible hand, the ghost whom the main lead felt attracted to.
Yoon Chang-Hyeon’s shaking hand exposes his emotions and thoughts concerning the protagonist. He is furious! He is trembling out of anger. However, he had another cause for his trembling!! For the first time, the elder saw his son with a topknot. 😢 Despite everything, his son had been able to become a noble, even a man!! He was no longer living like an animal. His status had improved, while the father had lost his support. This picture showed the reality of the purge. Now, only Yoon Seungho was benefitting from the „exchange of favors“. Moreover, Yoon Seungho could put his prick into a hole!! To sum up, the ruined painting was proving as well that the father had been wrong. That’s the reason why during their last meeting, the father’s reproach had changed. (chapter 87) But let’s not forget that the young noble was turned into a bottom so that the father’s words become like a huge farce. He had been trained not to use his prick and to look like a woman. Hence he was rather slender and had a braid. Yoon Chang-Hyeon had actually contributed to turn his son into a sodomite and the publications from chapter 1 are the evidence of the elders’ crime! (chapter 1) The moment the identity of the braided man is revealed, the beholder can detect their crimes and their hypocrisy. Both patriarchs pushed a minor to have sex with an old bearded man. And don’t forget that there was no marriage, hence the town folks are curious about the main lead’s future bride. This signifies that the sex in the picture can only judged as illegal, as a rape. That’s the reason why I believe that the ruined painting from season 1 served to prepare the father to face cruel reality. It was the first step. What caught my attention is that the patriarch left the room just before the sexual session in the past (chapter 86) and in the present (chapter 87), though in the second case, he approached the throne first. He never remained there, till the session was over. This is important, because it exposes that the father was just assuming that the sex sessions would take place. Yet, in the bedchamber, it didn’t happen, while in the gibang it did take place. However, something could have happened after the sexual lesson. As you can see, the elder made the huge mistake to trust people, to rely too much on impressions. Furthermore, the fact that he leaves the place shows that he has the same habit than Heena. Is it because he fears sex too? And now, you comprehend why the father’s hand was shaking! (chapter 44) He was scared too! He was forced to see sex with his own eyes. For him, sex was just a necessity to get a heir. (chapter 86) Consequently, I deduce that the father will be forced to assist to a sex session full of violence and torture himself, similar to the head-kisaeng’s (chapter 96), yet there won’t be love there. Moreover, he won’t be able to leave the room like before. From my point of view, this confrontation is to corner the elder master Yoon, to pressure him to admit his guilt. In my eyes, he will experience what his son went through: Hell, a nightmare. (chapter 86)
To conclude, the ruined paintings played a huge role in the lord’s suffering. They represented the first step of exposure therapy, and it was the same for the persons responsible for his martyrdom. For the first time, Lee Jihwa had to see a sex orgy with his own eyes. Thus he covered his gaze with the veiled hat. (chapter 12) He was still avoiding reality, until he was cornered to participate in a sex orgy for real, a new version of the past: (chapter 100) The only difference to the past is that this time, the villain and the antagonist couldn’t rape the main character. Hence imagine how Yoon Seungho must have felt, when it happened to him. The painter is going through a milder form of sexual assault. Nevertheless, it was still very violent and bloody. Consequently, it is not surprising that he was brought back to the past, when he saw his lover unconscious and his face was covered in blood: (chapter 102) This represented the high peak of his treatment. After this night, he became stronger than before, thereby he will be able to meet the pedophile. The painter is his source of strength, his pillar. His desire to keep the painter by his side, to protect him is the reason why he is able to overcome his PTSD. He has a reason to encounter the old bearded men and accuse them for their sins.
3. A new ruined painting?
Many manhwaphiles believe that there exist only two damaged paintings, nonetheless this is not correct. It is just they are not obvious, for they didn’t play a huge role in the story so far. So now you are wondering where they are. (chapter 41) The painter’s tears fell on the picture representing his rape. It was, as if they were washing the lord for this sin. But the water didn’t destroy the image totally, because the characters were not turning into ghosts. In reality, the two characters were slowly escaping from their mental prison, recovering slowly from their traumas and issues despite the heartbreaks. But why did it happen then? It is related to Jung In-Hun’s words. The scholar had reproached the painter to enjoy sodomy. (chapter 40) However, the night before, the artist had not truly accepted the lord’s advances. They had not had even sex. He had more kept company to the tormented Yoon Seungho. So the teacher couldn’t refer to this sex session. Secondly the learned sir was not supposed to know about the sex marathon, for the painter had just been allowed to paint erotic pictures. Hence he could only refer to one scene, the one in chapter 25. My avid readers will certainly recall my following interpretation: Jung In-Hun had witnessed the rape, but he had not intervened. This means that he knew that Baek Na-Kyum had rejected the host’s advances. He had not allowed him to touch him. This means that he was lying in the library. Furthermore, the rape had taken place because neither Kim nor Jung In-Hun had not stopped the owner of the mansion. Both had remained in the shadow!! That’s the reason why the protagonist was washed off his sin. The learned sir’s jealousy led him to wound the painter, and the latter suffered so much from this blow that the lord’s violence in the pavilion appeared as nothing compared to the learned sir’s betrayal and abandonment. The learned sir’s words were far more cruel and painful than the coerced sex in the pavilion. And now, we have to question ourselves this. Where did all these pictures go? (chapter 41) Did the butler keep them? Or did he give them to lord Song? Striking is that in these pictures, neither Yoon Seungho nor Baek Na-Kyum have eyes. In fact, they have no visage! This means that the homosexuals can not be identified, unless the tailor is present. He can recognize the persons based on their clothes. Keep in mind that the pictures will serve as an evidence for crimes or reproaches. So a person could use these pictures to push the painter to recall the lord’s actions from season 1. He had raped him, he had forced him to have a sex marathon in the bedchamber which could have killed him etc… (chapter 81) In other words, this can only backfire… in fact, this could push Yoon Seungho to look at the publication from chapter 1 more closely and remember his own past: the face of his tormentor.
As for the fourth damaged image, it was used as an illustration for the first season. Here, it is ripped like in chapter 2. From my point of view, this image is linked to the future. Someone will torn the picture out of rage and jealousy. Since the father didn’t burn or rip it, I have the impression that “lord Song” should be the one who will act like the painter. Why? It is because it looks very similar to this image in the sand: (chapter 1) Two noblemen making love to each other! This represented the artist’s wish and vision. At the same time, the future ruined painting could expose the perpetrator’s mental state: he is either living himself in darkness and broken. And if he pours water on it, this signifies that the couple could “vanish” and turn into a different couple: a real husband and wife, an official marriage, where the painter becomes Yoon Seungho’s official bride. And the painter has the face and the legs of a woman, only the presence of his short hair is revealing his true gender. (chapter 94) Yet, the moment he wears long hair, especially a braid, it will be no longer visible to detect his sex. But no one would remove the clothes of a noblewoman to see her sex, for this would represent a huge crime. As you can envision it, I am expecting a huge prank from our beloved couple to turn the pedophile into ridicule.
But since the story is in going in circle, this signifies that this ruined painting is also linked to the past. From my point of view, two paintings should have been ruined too. And we have an evidence for this: (chapter 16) So far, none of the pictures was splattered with ink. And who had done it in the past? Yoon Seung-Won, Kim or Lee Jihwa? There is no doubt that Yoon Seungho got blamed for it. Besides, which painting was it too? Since all the ruined paintings from season 1 were connected to the protagonist, and each of them were announcing the evolution of the characters, I assume that splattering it with ink represented the downfall of the main lead. He would fall into the pit and end up living in darkness. On the other hand, since we have two damaged pictures, I deduce that in the past, one picture was damaged with ink, and the other was torn. Hence you comprehend why I am expecting the return of ruined paintings, for they play a huge role in the story. They played a role in the lord‘s disgrace and isolation, thus they serve to confront the perpetrators and accomplices with verity. Moreover they help Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum to get justice for their suffering. They have to recall the past, for the painter was the innocent witness of Yoon Seungho’s suffering. (chapter 1) (chapter 68) They are the proofs of crimes exposing the pedophile’s debauchery. (chapter 1) But the paintings were not the only things destroyed: we have the music box, the letters, the books, but more importantly the talismans: (chapter 99) This was the new version of the ripped paper from chapter 2! This indicates that the talismans couldn’t be effective, they couldn’t protect Min and his friends from resentful spirits.
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 Reddit-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.