Michele Tosini began his training in the workshop of Lorenzo di Credi, and in 1525 moved to the workshop of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, with whom he frequently collaborated, adopting the artist’s name into his own. In his works from the 1540s onwards, the Mannerist influence of artists such as Agnolo Bronzino, Francesco Salviati and, later, Vasari, with whom Tosini also collaborated on the decorative scheme in the Salone dei Cinqueceno in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Stylistically, the present work dates from the later period of Tosini’s oeuvre. It is possible, given the lion jewel looped into her hair, that she was intended as an allegory of Fortitude, and may have belonged to a wider group of virtues. A bust length of an Allegory of Fortitude (Private collection, sold Sotheby’s, London, 22 January 2004, lot 15) wears a similar lion motif on her chest, and indeed the jewelled pendant hanging from the lion’s jaw reappears in a number of Tosini’s works, such as Lucrezia (Rome, Galerie Borghese) and Saint Mary Magdalene (Private collection, sold Sotheby’s, New York, 28 January 2010, lot 196), suggesting that it was a prop in the artist’s studio.