All that said, he completes a good job in this portrait, capturing a relatively simply but smartly dressed young woman in traditional clothing. To have a model sit such as this was also rare, with his other figurative depictions tending to be multiple people together, normally outdoors. This composition was clearly much more carefully planned and although that might give a more sterile look, Altdorfer manages to produce an ultimately charming painting none the less.

Whilst most likely a maid or servant, it would be wrong to assume that this woman was particularly poor. She wore several rings on her fingers and her outfit, that would have been provided for her employment, was particularly well made. The lighting effects provided by the artist help us to determine approximately the types of cloth used for her dress which radiates quality. The colours used are also pleasant and upbeat rather than the potentially dowdy colours that others may have been dressed in.

The young woman's expression looks alert and contented, perhaps as if waiting for orders attentively. Portraits such as this are excellent tools for learning more about life during this time, though you always need to consider whether an artist is depicting entirely as per reality or perhaps flattering his subject. As a rare three-quarter length portrait, this is a particularly important painting in the artist's overall ouevre.

Portrait of a Young Woman in Detail Albrecht Altdorfer