Joseph-Désiré Court was trained as a history painter and portraitist. He was strongly in demand as a portrait painter in aristocratic circles and at court, especially for his paintings that placed their subject in a fantastical scene.
This beautiful portrait is one of Court’s most personal. Indeed, it is most likely a painting of the artist’s wife. It is striking for the intimacy between painter and subject, which comes across in the directness of the gaze between them. The subject’s hair falls loosely from her face, her left hand holding the fabric that envelops her body. This seemingly casual pose gives a clear significance to the plain gold ring on her finger, and is balanced by the solid clear colours of the different fabrics that frame the sitter and emphasise the whiteness of her skin.