Facing the viewer, a bearded man in theatrical clothing poses in front of a loosely painted, classicizing backdrop. He holds a sheet of music in his left hand and with his right hand points at an overturned bowl in the foreground, a vanitas symbol that refers to the emptiness of material possessions. Intense eyes set in an expressive face watch the viewer while he gestures. In the lower right-hand corner, two young men, perhaps admirers, watch with interest.
The bearded man may have been a singer or actor shown in a role from a play; his informality also suggests that he may have been a friend of the artist, Domenico Fetti.