Women's faces are very present in Khnopff's oeuvre. They appear mysterious, eerie, faraway and appealing at the same time. Painter of the inner nature, Khnopff stands aloof from his model and yet manages to bring up what is most profound in her. The artist elaborates a type of contemplative and meditative woman with a beautiful and pure face, borrowing the finest features from different models to create a composite image of ideal beauty.
This drawing, executed around 1900, is typical of the way Khnopff represents women in the 1890s. Using a close-up framing, he focuses on the face, and removes the hair and all the insignificant details. However, the woman seems faraway, with her introspective look, absorbed in her dream.
The circular nature of our drawing brings to mind the discs, bubbles and mirrors that inhabit Khnopff's compositions. The circle might symbolize destiny as well as a form of perfection, or even self-reflection, denying the very idea of exteriority.