This lithograph is one of a number that Fantin-Latour made on the theme of artistic inspiration and the muse. He created portraits of famous composers, including Wagner and Berlioz, showing them in the act of ‘composing’. They were often accompanied by a female ‘muse’. Here, the artist in question gazes up at his bare-breasted muse who holds a palm frond; a traditional symbol of triumph. On the table there is an antique torch representing the light of knowledge and understanding. His pen is also a symbol of knowledge and creation, as well as having traditional associations with strength.