In the years before the First World War, Jan Sluijters, Leo Gestel and Piet Mondrian were among the leading figures of modern art in the Netherlands. In this work, Sluijters painted himself in working clothes, in the seclusion of his studio. The palette in his left hand, and the oblique lines of the two paintings, enclose his body. This play of line and angle creates a dynamic composition. Lost in concentration, Sluijters examines the fruits of his labors, holding his brush in a way that suggests that he is about to reach towards the canvas to execute a few bold brushstrokes. The glowing red and orange reinforce the idea that we are looking at an artist driven by instinct. A vase of fiery gladioli occupies the upper right-hand side of the background. Drawn to their rich colors and shapes, Sluijters often included flowers in his still lifes, interior scenes and portraits.