Zacharie Astruc was among the early champions of Edouard Manet’s art. He was an art critic and journalist as well as a poet and composer, painter and sculptor, and played a central role in the Paris art scene in the second half of the 19th century. The still life at the left edge of the painting attests to Astruc’s versatility: The books and the pen identify him as a literary figure, the woodcuts bear witness to his love for Japanese art, the folded fan and the red cummerbund demonstrate his enthusiasm for Spain, and the stringed instrument in the room next door stands for his musicality. Astruc’s gaze meets the viewer, and yet it seems introverted at the same time. His hand, partially hidden by his vest, lies on his heart—in a gesture of sincerity. He seems mysteriously absent. The space surrounding him is also a mystery. By making a picture within a picture, Manet has created another level of reality, without it being clear whether this is actually a view into the next room, a mirror image, or a painted picture. With this composition, the artist alludes to Titian’s Venus of Urbino (ca. 1538, Uffizi, Florence).