Painter Of The Night: The significance of clothes (part 4)

This is where you can read the manhwa. But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. I mostly used the following website for the colors:

This is the final essay about the clothes, where I’ll examine Jung In-Hun’s clothes and the changes occurring during the first season.

The first time we meet the learned sir, he is actually wearing a simple robe with long sleeves, just like our protagonist.

chapter 6

However, I doubt that this simplicity reflects his true personality. Remember that I mentioned that Jung In-Hun would wear an exterior robe with short sleeves, it shows that he switched his style at some point. Here, we have to imagine that the learned sir is just a poor teacher, a low noble with no wealth and connection, hence he can’t have expensive clothes. I would even say that he doesn’t own many clothes too and the fabric looks quite cheap. Strictly speaking, he has to wear such a robe, while Yoon Seungho prefers robes with long sleeves because of his naturalness. The intensity of the color reflects the luxury that’s the reason why the colors of Yoon Seungho’s clothes are more vivid than the ones from the low noble. In other words, the choice of the color mirrors his poor financial situation.

Honestly, I had a hard time to determinate his color. It is a mixture of grey with a slight glint of lavender (light purple) in it: it’s called gris de lin. “gris” in French means grey, however this color belongs to purple because “lin” (linen) is a plant with a purple blossom. In the episode 6, it looks more grey but I believe that it is due to the poor quality of the fabric. But I’ll explain the meaning of gris de lin later.

Anyway, the color of Jung In-Hun’s robe in the chapter 6 is quite similar to the ones of the children’s clothes which can only reinforce the disdain and resent Jung In-Hun has for the commoners. He abhors the idea to get associated with the low-born. What just distinguishes him from the people surrounding him is his hairdressing. He is wearing a black hat with a topknot. Even in the woods, he makes sure that his appearance diverges from the others. He doesn’t want to get mixed up with low-born.

Striking is that once he is home, the low noble takes off his hat, even his robe in front of his rich and powerful guest. You might wonder why, in particular when you know about the teacher’s pride and arrogance. You are correct to assume that this action is deliberate, he wants to reveal his true financial condition to Yoon Seungho, showing him that as a noble he is not well enough and needs the support of a sponsor. At the same time, we shouldn’t forget that the lord chose a dark purple robe with short sleeves in order to deceive the teacher too. Just a reminder about the meaning of dark purple:

Deep Purple: Dark purple is related to higher spiritual attainment. A powerful color, it can also indicate arrogance and ruthlessness.

Whereas the main lead had the intention to ooze wealth but also frivolity, the other wanted to do the opposite. He wanted to make the lord believe that he was a poor but humble man full of potential. Showing himself without his exterior robe and hat signalized that he felt comfortable around the lord and he had so little means hence he had to take off his exterior robe so that the latter wouldn’t get damaged. He doesn’t have a lot of clothes. However, the modesty the learned sir is faking is unveiled, the moment he speaks about the commoners and their education. His speech only illustrates arrogance, entitlement and disdain for commoners contradicting his attitude. The protagonist is no fool, in fact he misled the low noble on purpose. The seme forced the teacher to make lip service in order to obtain a sponsorship, yet simultaneously it actually served to reveal his true thoughts and his true personality: a hypocrite and obsequious (greasy) noble.

Now, I would like to analyse this picture which caught my attention. First, the readers notice that Jung In-Hun is the only character wearing glasses. This is no coincidence since they have two purposes. On the one hand, the manhwaphiles should consider the item as a tool to mask his true face which is actually reflected in the drawing above. Here, we only sees one eye, the other is hidden by the reflection of the sun. We should interpret the missing eye this way. The “learned sir” has an hidden agenda, he is hiding his true intentions and thoughts to his future sponsor therefore he grins. He truly believes that he hasn’t been caught with his lies. He is far from humble and his poem was a plagiarism.

This explains why in the chapter 40, he takes off his glasses in front of the painter. Here, he can no longer hide his true thoughts towards the artist: he is full of arrogance, jealousy and resent. Sure, he immediately puts these back but the fact that in that particular scene he reveals his true self in front of his “fan” just after removing his glasses is significant. This gesture symbolizes and announces what is about to occur. He displays his true emotions and expresses his arrogance and contempt towards the painter. In his eyes, the artist is just a man consumed by lust hence he is a prostitute. He was raised in a brothel therefore he can only live like a whore. This signifies that if the noble takes away his glasses in the second season, we have to observe his future comments and attitude.

Nevertheless, I sense another interpretation of the glasses. People wearing glasses need this object because of their poor sight. Since Jung In-Hun can’t see well, the readers should take the meaning literally. The low noble can’t judge people very well that’s why he is so easily fooled and manipulated by the main character. He is too blinded by his entitlement and pride that he keeps misjudging people and situations. What he mistakes for lust (chapter 40), has been pure love as he is not aware of the painter’s innocence and purity. Moreover he has no idea that he has to thank the low-born for saving his life in the chapter 30. He thinks that as a noble, he can touch the powerful lord so easily. He even comes to the belief that since he is controlling the artist, he stands on the same level than the main character. He doesn’t even notice the killing gaze Seungho is oozing. The learned sir has definitely a poor sight, when it comes to people and situations. He believes that his “intelligence” and knowledge gained through the books is enough for his career, but the man is definitely lacking experiences. He has no knowledge of the world and people, he has never meddled with other dirty, scheming and treacherous nobles before. And this is exactly what Yoon Seungho is telling him before his departure. He is warning him about what could happen to him in the future. Remember that I associated him to the library where he is buried by the books. Even the books are following him in his bedroom. So we could say that Jung In-Hun is naive in a certain sense. He needs to learn through bad experiences in order to understand the harshness of life and to comprehend his own delusions.

But now let’s return to the chapter 6/7.

When the rich and deceptive noble takes his leave, the low noble stands up, even without putting his exterior robe. He still wants to maintain this image of modesty and dependency till the end. He needs a strong financial backer so that he can advance in his career.

When he arrives at the mansion, he is still dressed simply. The robe hasn’t changed at all reinforcing the idea of his poor financial situation. He doesn’t own many clothes. Simultaneously, he wants to keep this appearance as simple and humble as possible hoping that the lord would decide to buy him some clothes. But nothing happens here. On the other hand, he has to witness how the painter gets so many special treatments. He is hired to paint erotic pictures signalizing that he is talented. Then the artist is invited to the hunt, although he is just a low-born. Moreover the master pays attention to his moves (prevent him from falling) and he is even invited by the lord to join him at the pavilion. A doctor is called for him, the main lead even accepts to buy expensive medicine for his painter. The latter has the right to sleep in the master’s chamber, to spend the night with him, to wear the noble’s clothes and to get new winter clothes at the same tailor shop than the master’s. All along, Jung In-Hun listed all the favors the commoner received, while the teacher got nothing in return, only free lodging and a free access to the noble’s huge library. That’s why he loathed Baek Na-Kyum so much and lashed out to him in the chapter 40. The glasses could no longer contain his negative emotions towards the commoner.

Till the chapter 21, the low noble is always dressed with a robe with long sleeves. However, the color starts changing a little. The grey undertone is still present but little by little the pigment of purple increases.

chapter 19

Here, the color looks more mauve. That’s why I said that his color is very hard to determine and came to choose “gris de lin” as Jung In-Hun’s color. The explication for this inaccuracy is that this undefined coloration displays the dirtiness and ambiguity of this character. The dye is never clear and pure, so different from Yoon Seungho. On the other hand, there is one scene where the pigment is very clear. It is in his bedroom, here he is seen wearing white undergarments. This could be judged as a clue that he is a virgin. His shady personality is mirrored by the unclear dye, yet he is pure, when it comes to sex. However, I had written in the analysis entitled “Jung In-Hun’s secrets” that he gave me the vibe of a pedophile. With this observation, I would contradict my own statement. However, we could imagine that the low noble does have phantasms about little girls which he tries to hide. The question is, if the moment he has to prostitute himself for his career, he could decide to outlive his hidden perversity, especially to compensate his frustration. With children, he could show his superiority and arrogance, while he has to lower himself and sacrifice his own butt for his career and benefit.

Now, let’s go back to the pigment “gris de lin”. You might wonder what “gris de lin” is. Here you can see what “gris de lin” is.

There are two reasons why I chose a French website. First this coloration resembles to the one Jung In-Hun is wearing. The irony is that the owner of this website comments that this color suits perfectly to girls’ room. Now, you understand why I chose this. Since I have already anticipated that Jung In-Hun will prostitute himself for his own career [read the analysis about “Bel-Ami”], it becomes clear which part he will play during the future lip services. That’s why his color is close to the pink of Baek Na-Kyum.

Based on my observations, the percentage of purple grows little by little until it reaches its peak in the chapter 29, that’s why we have the following robes:

(here the belt looks purple)

chapter 29
chapter 35

Chapter 40:

So here is the question: why do his clothes look more and more purple, especially in the chapter 40, where it looks more like lavender?

In my opinion, this has to do with the color Yoon Seungho chose, when they met for the first time. Remember that his apparel was dark purple, he exuded charisma, power and high nobility. And this is what Jung In-Hun would like to become and it would totally reflect his personality: arrogant and ruthless. If he had the means, he would choose dark purple. But he can’t hence he is forced to choose pastel colors resembling purple. The reason why I chose “gris de lin” was influenced by this observation. In the latest episodes, he had clothes reflecting pastel purple and when you look at his robe in the last chapter, the collar is definitely purple/lilac, however the color in the robe as such is much more diluted. From my point of view, the last cloth mirrors the protagonist’s evolution. Thanks to Yoon Seungho, he was able to buy clothes that were more expensive, the fabric no longer looks cheap as it shines a little. Moreover, the robe looks thicker and softer, unlike in the beginning where it was straight and less flexible. However, the color of the robe symbolizes his failure. The more he tried to get closer to Yoon Seungho through little tricks (like f. ex. asking the painter not to paint or searching for little dirty secrets), the more the lilac/purple came to the surface, yet at the end the pigment is similar to the one from the beginning. So now, what does purple or gris de lin mean?

Here, I am only quoting the negative aspects related to purple because Jung In-Hun is an antagonist therefore he has no positive features in the story. He embodies hypocrisy that’s why his gentle gestures like a caress or an advice are just an illusion.

Negative keywords include: immaturity, being impractical, cynical and aloof, pompous and arrogant, fraudulent and corrupt, delusions of grandeur and the social climber.

And this fits our character so perfectly. He is corrupt as he wants to advance his own career through illegal means (using Baek Na-Kyum as a spy, acting like a pimp and a prostitute, bribing a commoner in order to blackmail the powerful lord etc.). He is delusional like I explained above and he embodies the perfect arrivist. He shows no empathy for the artist, when the latter was raped.

Then if we read the comment about mauve which comes close to “gris de lin”,

Mauve: Mauve fits somewhere between lavender and lilac. helps us to make the best choices and decisions; it is concerned for justice to be done and always does the right thing. On the other hand it can indicate a degree of commonness, the social climber aspiring to higher ideals.

it confirms that Jung In-hun is just an average man thinking too highly of himself and of his own importance. He is definitely a social climber with no conscience, not afraid of using sex for his own benefit. If he has to kiss the painter’s hand in order to incite him to work for him, then he will do it. He doesn’t realize the whole time that he is contradicting himself. He loathes sodomy but in fact, he is using the lord’s homosexuality for his own interest. He is even forcing the painter to sell his body so that he can discover secrets from the powerful master. He is living in his own world in the end, unaware that he has already entered the world of a brothel acting like a pimp and a whore.

If you pay attention to the kind of robes the former teacher is wearing, you’ll notice that he switches between long sleeves and short sleeves. Jung In-Hun is wearing an exterior robe with short sleeves on different occasions. First, he has one during the hunt, then when he visits the craftsman (either a dyer or a washer) and when he is reading at the library. Why did he change the style? My interpretations of his motivation are the following.

During the hunt, he had chosen to confront the powerful lord and humiliate him by accusing him of hypocrisy and telling him that he was a talented man full of potential. It ended up in a disaster as he never expected the lord to know the origin of the poem he gave to Baek Na-Kyum. Furthermore he has to hear that he is far from being skillful, a terrible statement for the arrogant man.

Then when he visits the artisan, he wants to impress him because he needs his help. He has to dress like a quite rich noble so that the craftsman will be willing to help him for the investigation in Yoon Seungho’s past. Remember that he even gave money to the man, yet we truly know his own financial situation. He has no real fortune and only his title that distinguishes him from the commoners.

Then in the chapter 40, we have to imagine that he must have heard about Baek Na-Kyum’s visit to the tailor shop, where Yoon seungho usually buys his own clothes. I detect that this must have hurt his pride hence he felt the need to dress up so that if the painter came to see him, he wouldn’t get aware that Yoon seungho was treating him so differently. He had to maintain his image that he was sponsored by the lord too. You can now imagine why Jung In-Hun exploded, the moment the painter asked him if he would take responsibility for him. For him, it sounded like a farce. The painter was favored by the rich noble and now he is asking from an impoverished noble to take his responsibility.

At the end, the quality of his clothes has improved but not his situation. He is still dependent of the sponsoring from Yoon Seungho. However, the problem is that he needs to succeed at the civil service examination and if he fails, his future is really uncertain. Only at the end he realizes that the wealthy noble is in love with the painter but it is too late for him. He lost his temper and revealed his true personality to the artist hence he can no longer use the artist. The latter is no longer his tool. Therefore Jung In-Hun will have to find another sponsor in the long run and it is definitely possible that he becomes The Yoons’ (Seung-Won and his father) or the King’s puppet.

We come now to the last part where the low noble’s dye doesn’t appear unclear, quite the opposite: it looks accurate, even softer. In the chapter 19, Baek Na-Kyum has the impression that the teacher visits his room after their quarrel. Here, he is under the influence of alcohol but the change of brightness illustrates the false perception the painter has of his teacher. He only judges him as someone pure and dignified. This scene is just a dream, the expression of the artist’s unconscious and own delusions. He couldn’t bear to be left alone and rejected. The reality is so different, his admired learned sir is just corrupt and vicious what Baek Na-Kyum fails to recognize for a long time. The “gris de lin” in the manhwa never looked so clean like the pigment from the French Website.

As a conclusion, I perceive another clue about Jung In-Hun’s future. He will be a social climber through illegal means, blinded by his own arrogance and naivety. He might be able to deceive commoners but it is different among the nobles as they are truly selfish, ruthless and treacherous, just like him. He was a snake towards Baek Na-Kyum but he will turn into a peacock, an admired bird that is unable to flight. Does it mean that his career will never take off, since the peacock can’t fly? Will the teacher really be able to climb the social ladders and become a high official? I doubt it due to my association with the peacock. Moreover, the painting about his inauguration could be perceived as a bad omen. This was just an illusion, a dream inspired by the painter’s admiration and love for the low noble based on a false judgement. The peacock is the animal privileged by royalty, however it is just there for admiration and nothing more. The peacock will never be powerful like Jung In-Hun hopes. These are my predictions.

Feel free to comment or to give any suggestion for an analysis (topic, manhwas). If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it and push the button “like” so that this writing doesn’t become pointless. My twitter/instagram/tumblr account: @bebebisous33 Thanks for the support.

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