Lilacs are a beloved Russian flower of springtime, and are a personal favorite of Victor's. Lilacs are associated with the mood of having survived the harsh Russian winter, and in the warmth of springtime, enjoying soft blossoms and sweet fragrance. This painting conveys a sense of the joy experienced after going through difficult times and then arriving at a place of beauty, ease, and freedom. In the lower right, we see that multicolored butterflies have been released from a dark drawer, and are now flying free, and visiting the beautiful lilac blossoms.
Victor portrays himself on a tabletop on which he is enjoying the lilacs. We see from the ladder leading to the tabletop, that he has had a steep climb to arrive at this peaceful place. Victor looks very small in comparison to the two forces that he is observing, the lilacs, and the butterflies. We see that Victor depicts himself as working on his self-portrait (painting on easel). He is taking a break from his work to hold a bouquet of lilacs.