Court painter and close friend to French queen Marie-Antoinette, Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun had to escape the imprisonments and beheadings-by-guillotine of the French Revolution. She left Paris for Venice in 1792. That year she was introduced to Isabella Teotochi Marini (1760–1836), the subject of this portrait. The introduction was made by Dominique Vivant Denon, a scholar, archeologist, and writer, who under Napoleon was instrumental in organizing the French museum system, including the Louvre. This freely-painted portrait, inscribed by Vigée-Le Brun to Denon, reflects the Neoclassical taste in dress at the time. Marini wears loose curls (rather than a wig, which had been the fashion until recently) and a flowing, simple, revealing dress inspired by classical Greek and Roman precedents.