Vittoria Colonna is placed at her desk, with several additional items added to the composition to add an element of grandeur which raises the profile of Sebastiano's subject. These additions would typically indicate the person's standing and also perhaps their specific role. The artist would always allow a certain room for the subject's own wishes too.
The landscape to be found in the background on the left of the canvas is an example of the influence of Giorgione on Sebastiano in his early years. He and Giovanni Bellini would leave a significant impact on most artists who came under their wing as part of the Venetian School.
Over time, elements of Sebastiano's teachings in Venice would fade, replaced with elements of the Roman school. It never disappeared completely, though, and remained faithful in the landscape elements of his work for the rest of his career.
The respected portraiture techniques of Sebastiano enable him to draw in some impressive donors, particularly once established in Rome. He was respected by Michelangelo and Raphael, too, which boosted his reputation and spread his name into new states.