The Lady with a Fan
is one of Velázquez's most famous paintings, yet the identity of the sitter remains a mystery. It has been suggested that it may portray either the artist's wife, Juana
de Miranda, his own daughter, Francisca, or the exiled Marie de Rohan, duchesse de Chevreuse (1600-79). The closely observed features, severe gaze, sober palette and prominently displayed rosary
lend the picture an aura of intensity and enigma that has long fascinated viewers: indeed the French art historian Thoré-Bürger claimed that there was no other painting that better represented the
art of Velázquez and Spain.