This small portrait of a richly dressed young girl captures all the qualities of Sofonisba's talent as a portraitist. In spite of its size, everything is described in great detail: from the dress to her jewels and the tour-de-force of the her needle-point lace ruff collar, masterfully executed in white gouache with the tip of the brush. As attested by the girl's dress, the work portrays a young member of the Spanish royal court, hence dating to Sofonisba's 14-years residence in Madrid. Begun in 1559, this stay marked a turning point in the artist's career. Her portraits in particular benefited greatly from her contact with Anthonis Mor and Alonso Sanchez Coello, whose miniaturized portraits on paper constitute an important precedent and influence for the present work.
We are grateful to Marco Tanzi for confirming the attribution to the artist based on a digital photograph.