Rembrandt's four studies of the nude executed in 1658 (B. 197, 199, 200 and 205) are considered to be the artist's most intimate and accomplished studies of the female form. The present work, the largest of these, was worked on to a far greater extent than the others, with seven described states. The modifications show the artist working at the balance of the composition and redefining the spatial context. Famously, the white cap was removed in the penultimate state, presumably because within the confines of a densely hatched composition it provided a distracting focus of light.