Martin van Meytens was born in Stockholm in 1695, the son of a Dutch portraitist of who had moved to Sweden to work for the prosperous Swedish court of Charles XI. Van Meytens first trained with his father before going abroad to continue his studies. He began his career as a miniaturist in London in 1714, then moved to France where he gained access to the highest circles of Parisian society. From 1723 until 1727 Van Meytens lived in Italy, but by 1732 he was working in Vienna as official court painter. During his time at court he painted no less than fifteen portraits of the Empress Maria Theresa. His meticulous style – much loved during his lifetime but out of fashion soon after his death – contains French, English and Dutch influences.