In this portrait, Queen Christina of Sweden wears an elaborate silver dress and a regal blue fur-lined shawl. Christina ruled Sweden from 1640 to 1654, but abdicated her throne when she converted to Catholicism. She then moved to Rome, where she became one of the seventeenth century’s greatest patrons of the arts. A colourful character who flouted convention, she showed little regard for prevailing social customs and was often the subject of scandalous gossip. Her love of the arts was steadfast and she amassed a superb collection of paintings. This included some of the finest paintings that are now in the Scottish National Gallery, such as Titian’s ‘Venus Rising from the Sea’, and ‘Three Ages of Man’, Raphael’s ‘Madonna del Passeggio' and Gerrit Dou’s ‘Interior with a Young Violinist’.