Nicolaes Maes initially adhered to the style of his teacher Rembrandt van Rijn. He executed large biblical history paintings and later also started painting moralizing domestic scenes. After 1660 he devoted himself exclusively to painting portraits, developing an elegant and clear style, which anticipated the eighteenth century. This Portrait of a Woman stands out because of its extremely refined, detailed and delicate draughtsmanship and the play of light. Maes was very much in demand as a portrait painter of mundane elegance and applied himself to the adequate representation of the outer appearance, rather than to character studies.