A Foreigner Studying at Night
Utagawa Yoshikazu, Japanese, active c. 1850-70. Published by Maruya Jinpachi, Enjudō.
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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.