The background is plain and
gives us no clue as to the subject's identity
or character. Her eyes do not completely meet
ours so that she seems lost in her own thoughts.
The overall tone of the portrait is one of stillness,
as if the Emperor's sister were a statue just
coming to life.
The painter has taken great care to show the
difference between the crisp white cloth of the
dress with its lace trimming, carefully showing
every fold and crease, and the soft, plump skin
of the young woman's arms, chest and face.
Perhaps the most striking element in the painting
is the pose. The hands are inverted, the elbows
rounded, so that our eye completes the circle
formed by her arms, shoulders and the curve of
the chair. The more we look, the more the painting
seems to be organised into circles and scroll-like
shapes. The composition is extremely elegant.