This is one of thirty paintings made by Matisse in a hotel room in Nice. The velvety black background highlights the mirror and gives an unusual, almost inverted sense of inside and outside space. The 'real' space of the room is dark and flattened while the flat mirror is alive with the reflection of flowers, a tree and the sea outside the window. The artist depicted to the left is presumably Matisse himself, painting the scene on his canvas. The young woman absorbed in her book is his eighteen-year-old model, Antoinette Arnoux.