A self-portrait of the artist in his studio, looking at the viewer enquiringly with his piercing gaze, referring back to the self-portrait by Velázquez in Las Meninas, which inspired him so much and from which he took various resources used in this work. These include the depth of the space stretching back behind the figure, achieved here by Sorolla with a carefully studied composition, with few spatial references apart from the canvases stacked against the walls. The artist uses these to justify himself as a painter, secure and confident in the triumphant maturity of his artistic career at that time. The presence of a blank canvas on the right of the composition is probably meant as yet another tribute to Las Meninas and the artist’s profession.
In keeping with his inspiration here, Sorolla uses the traditional darker palette of Spain’s Golden Age. The result is sober but with brighter highlights, such as the shirt collar framing the artist’s head.