Aged seven in this portrait, Werner Miller (1892-1959) later became a painter. He was the son of Oscar Miller, a manufacturer from the Swiss canton of Solothurn who was also a keen collector of Hodler’s works.
The painting is a realist, lifelike portrait of Werner, yet also a symbolist oeuvre.
The boy’s gaze is entrancing as he sits in a meadow dotted with flowers, symbols of life, springtime and awakening that reflect the child’s youth and innocence.
In each hand, he holds a flower, which, in Holder’s works, represents fusion and harmony with nature. The portrayal's rigorous symmetry echoes nature’s parallelism, one of Holder’s favourite notions.