Girl with Pink Kerchief, which depicts a resident of the Italian village of Anticoli Corrado, reflects Sterne's admiration of Greek art during the eight months he spent in Greece in 1908. Entranced by the naturalism and severe style of classical Greek sculpture such as the Delphi Charioteer (ca. 475–470 B.C.), Sterne allowed it to influence his work for decades thereafter.
Sterne painted many of his models in profile, achieving a pronounced sculptural effect. In Girl with Pink Kerchief, the massive head appears to be chiseled out of stone. It is shown in austere profile against an undefined background; the intricate curves and bone structure of the model's face are accentuated. Even the hair protruding from the scarf is rendered as thick, sculptural locks, similar to those of the Delphi charioteer. The patterned scarf provides a flattening foil that heightens the volumetric, sculptural qualities of the head.
Sterne had admired early Renaissance frescoes, especially Piero della Francesca's, while traveling in Italy in 1907–1908, and this influence, too, may have found its way into Girl with Pink Kerchief. Like Piero, Sterne used thin, fluid paint and muted color. The girl's dramatic profile and three-dimensional aspect are also reminiscent of Piero. Her face and neck appear to have been built up in layers of ivory, olive, and flesh tones that are echoed in her clothing and in the background. Large areas of off-white have been left exposed in her tunic and scarf, and are highlighted with peach and pink, complementing the overall color scheme.