Here we find an attractive young woman looking out to our right, whilst dressed in a fairly simple but elegant white dress. The translucent nature of the outfit reveals more of her upper arm. Her left arm comes around from the side, with her fingers appearing in the far side. Her hair is tidy but not overly done, suggesting a relaxed, informal domestic setting. She wears some makeup, but it is relatively subtle. The light is carefully crafted here and takes on extra importance because of the lack of other detail within this scene. Her right arm is particularly brightened, with her face turned away from the viewer, and also partly in the shade. The background to this piece is entirely plain, so as to avoid distracting our eyes from what lies in front. You will find a similar setup in the portrait of Juana Pacheco, only the clothing and makeup in that piece is smarter and more complex.
This portrait is dated at 1648, making it one of the works from his mature period. He would have been in his late forties by this point, and entirely comfortable with the way in which he worked, both technically and also in the themes that he portrayed. His own reputation was also entirely established by this point and he would never be short of commissioned work from this point onwards. An interesting aspect to the loose brushwork of this portrait, titled Female Figure, is the comparison that has been drawn with the work of Italian painter, Titian. Velazquez is known to have travelled to Italy several times, gifting us memorable artworks such as View of the Villa Medici in Rome and Villa Medici Grotto Oggia Facade and used his period in this country to develop his impressive list of connections even further. Velazquez was particularly skilled in dealing with powerful people by this stage, and his own artistic reputation would have preceded him before visiting the Medici family.
In terms of the portaiture that might have influenced Velazquez, perhaps view the likes of Girl in a Fur from 1536-1538 and also this portrait of Isabella of Portugal from 1545. The latter may have given him some guidance specifically in depicting the various members of the European royal families which were obviously far more influential than they tend to be today. The portrait displayed in this page can now be found at the Meadows Museum, Dallas, making it one of the few Velazquez paintings currently in the US. Visitors to this venue will also be able to enjoy some other highlights of art history, such as Yard with Lunatics by Francisco de Goya, Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation by El Greco and also Lady at the Paris Exposition by Luis Jiménez Aranda.