Is the countess in mourning for a deceased family member? Enveloped in black pleated silk, the wife of the Russian ambassador in Vienna gazes attentively at the viewer. Her rosy complexion and the hint of a smile around her lips form a charming contrast to the sombre dignity of her gown and the severe parting of her hair. Waldmüller, who became famous for his genre scenes from the life of ordinary people, shows in this portrait his mastery of a highly sensitive, characterful representation of an individual. He was one of the earliest representatives of Realist painting.