The model in this painting is Balthus's niece by marriage, Frédérique Tison. Seventeen years old at the time this work was painted, Frédérique became the artist's favourite model and muse. Her pose is both vulnerable and confrontational, suggesting sexual awakening. It derives from paintings by Caravaggio and Corregio. The work was painted in the artist's château near Nevers, in central France, where Balthus moved in 1953.