A Foreigner Studying at Night
Utagawa Yoshikazu, Japanese, active c. 1850-70. Published by Maruya Jinpachi, Enjudō.
Japanese artists frequently struggled with depicting light and shadow in the heavy folds of the voluminous skirts of Western dresses, often resulting in unusual flat patterning rather than three-dimensional modeling. The curious white "highlighted" areas on the skirt of the woman's billowing dress may be an attempt by the artist to describe the sheen of a crisp fabric such as silk taffeta, a cloth commonly used for fashionable dresses at the time.