In this portrait Angelica Kauffmann records her friend, the actress Maddalena Volpato. Placed in the very close foreground, the young woman nearly fills the picture space, but evades this intense closeness through the turning of her head. The portrait underscores Kauffmann’s ability to render material qualities, such as velvet, muslin, lace, or hair, almost tangibly. Goethe became acquainted with the actress in 1787 through Kauffmann, was enchanted, and described her in his Italienische Reise.