Many of Hals's portraits exhibit the bold, jagged brushstrokes typically associated with his work, but this portrait shows him experimenting with a more precise mode of painting. Hals often painted “wet-into-wet,” not allowing the paint to dry before applying additional layers. Here, for example, these blended strokes are used at the figure's hairline to convincingly recreate individual strands of hair. The sitter has recently been tentatively identified as Aeltje Dircksdr. Pater (1597–1678), wife of the Haarlem brewer and burgomaster Jan de Wael (1594–1663). An inscription confirms her age as 41 when Hals painted her.