This work is believed to have been completed in 1518 although there is a little guesswork surrounding all of Raphael's drawings in this period. The best estimate would be to locate the finished painting and then work back a year or two for the study pieces.
According to the National Galleries of Scotland, who own this artwork, the actual full title of the drawing is A Kneeling Nude Woman with her Left Arm Raised, once translated from Raphael's native Italian language.
Raphael was to prove to be one of the first artists in the world to use female models for his sketchwork, having previously relied on male assistants. This particular drawing is believed to have been one of a number of study sketches for a later fresco entitled Cupid and Psyche, 1518.
The commission for the final painting was from banker Agostino Chigi who wished to place the piece in his villa on the river Tiber.
Comparisons can be made between this drawing and the work of other Renaissance artists, plus many who followed on afterwards. For example, Lying Naked Woman by Rembrandt or Portrait of a Young Woman by Gustav Klimt offer different approaches to the same task.
Raphael used a combination of red and black chalk for this study artwork and he continued this method into many of his other drawings. Darker chalk was used specifically for adding depth to areas of the composition.