The painter represented himself at work. His drawing board resting on a seat of which only the back’s roundness is visible, he is peering into his mirror. Around him, the setting of the family home is immersed in shadow.
The moonlight, reflected in the invisible mirror, catches the objects in the room and shapes the artist’s face.
This ghostly figure, with dark shadows under his bulging eyes, sunken cheeks, forehead dotted with prominent bumps and crowned by hair sculpted with chiaroscuro contrasts, is focused on his own anxiety (in 'Les Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique : Le guide des collections d'art ancien & d'art moderne', Brussels, RMFAB, 1996, p. 166)
English Translation by Marianne Reynolds (2010)