Raja Ravi Varma is one of the earliest Indian artists to have successfully adapted Western Academic painting styles to suit local Indian sensibilities. Having had no formal training in European art, Ravi Varma observed and learned from European artists at the Travancore court. He familiarized himself with the concepts of Realism and Naturalism and mastered the use of oil paint to create three-dimensional worlds on flat surfaces. Although Ravi Varma relied upon Western techniques, his subject matter remained inherently Indian.
The Indian female in particular, was a favorite subject for him. He often used Maliyali or Maharashtrian women as the prototype for his works, endowing them with a sense of the sensual without overstepping the lines of propriety. In this particular work, the artist presents the viewer with a young Maliyali lady, dressed in the traditional sari worn by the women of Kerala, adorned with typical South Indian jewelry and flaunting an elaborate hair arrangement. The exposed smoothness of the woman's upper arms and shoulders invests the work with a sensual energy that is heightened by her semi-transparent garment.