Diego Velazquez produced a good number of shoulder length portraits within his career, but the full length alternatives offered most of an insight into life during this time. Some would include furniture, accompanying pets and other features within the room to add extra interest. Here, though, the background is darkened and we focus entirely on Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain, with this composition being dated at 1653. He was a busy artist during the 1650s, having becoming the prefered choice for royal portraits. Several figures actually appear again and again within his career as he sought to serve the ruling powers as best he could. Whilst he was not offered artistic freedom within this role, Velazquez was financially comfortable and also received great respect whilst he carried out this role.
Velazquez reproduced detail in an incredibly accurate way, and those able to view this painting in person will almost be able to reach out and touch the various elements of this outfit, even though they are actually just carefully placed dabs of paint. He mastered drapery and embroidery which became key skills in his work within the portraiture genre. The lady holds a small white cloth, and this symbolic gesture is repeated in several of his other paintings. Her wide outfit stretched out of view, though we can identify some of the embroidered patterns across it. There are also touches of silver lining which attracts touches of light. Her upper midrift is particularly splendid, with red touches providing contrast. Behind her is a simple dark green cloth that removes all detail from the room.
The Infanta's head wear is elaborate, with a series of decorative touches appearing from her left, our right. Her own hair is platted with red bows placed at the bottom of each separate element. Her expression is relaxed, but formal. This piece can now be found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, where a good number of historical portraits such as this can be viewed, including several others by Diego Velazquez himself. His work within portraiture was artistically impressive but also helped to document the lives of some of the most significant figures in European history across the 17th century.