Simple lines of black chalk construct this stunning young beauty, depicting her in a simple portrait which focuses on her natural features. Drawings tend to display the raw skills of an artist, where oil on canvas can sometimes give an opportunity to amend mistakes. The simplicity of this medium also helps art historians to understand more about an artist's style and technical approach.
Head of a Young Woman and Bust of a Young Woman clearly made use of the same model, who we assume to be of a relatively simple background from judging the composition of the work and the clothing used. This work focuses purely on her face, though it is possible that there may have been more to this drawing before being cropped which happened a lot during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
This drawing can now be found at the National Library in Madrid, Spain. This city holds the best collection of Velazquez's work, including the extraordinary Las Meninas. Ivory laid paper was the medium used in most of his remaining drawings, typically with black chalk used to produce the portrait lines.
The darker lines in this sketch are on the young woman's hair and scarf which tapers off below the bottom of the composition. Some art historians have rejected this drawing as the work of Velazquez but the majority believe it is from his hand and this represents a relative confirmation compared to all of his other remaining drawings.
Comparisons can be made within other oil painter, Gustav Klimt, whose career is littered with high quality sketches of young women. This Austrian would practice his craft constantly and clearly was inspired by the female beauty.