A young woman adorned with flowers sits, apparently lost in thought. Behind her, a carefully laid-out garden echoes the exuberance of the plants that surround her. Red peonies, orange tulips, French roses, white lilies, blue morning glories (ipomea), strawberries, and artichokes tumble from a basket, vase or large dish placed on a seat. Their abundance evokes the vitality of nature and is reminiscent the character of the ancient goddess Flora, companion of Zephyr—the west wind. Their union is symbolized by the carnation she holds delicately in her left hand.
In this work, as much a portrait as it is a still life or landscape, the concern for botanical truth and the symbolic significance of flowers are intimately linked. The petals scattered on the ground thus evoke the fleeting nature of time and the vanity of earthly pleasures.