Walter Pater has proved an elusive figure for biographers who have often emphasized the deep contrast between the daring aesthetic message of The Renaissance and his apparently very quiet and studious life in Oxford’s academic environment. The image of an enigmatic, diaphanous character, wholly immersed in his works and devoted to his quest for stylistic perfection, has pervaded many biographies, conjuring up the vision of an aesthete living “behind a veil,” as it were. In their desire to fathom out Pater’s genuine self, biographers have been faced with discontinuity in the reports and interpretations of his character, so that they were often tempted to look for answers in his own critical and imaginary essays which were precious, and yet deeply subjective, sources of information. Therefore, the reader is confronted to discontinuous – sometimes contradictory – narratives of Pater’s life and character, which reflect a whole range of critical approaches over the past century and in turn conjure up the image of a solitary and ascetic person, or the portrait of an aesthete with repressed desires and homoerotic inclinations, and, more recently, the picture of a man cleverly handling his publications in a changing cultural and economic environment. So the concept of habitus as defined by sociologists Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu and reinterpreted by Idalina Conde for the specific field of biography paves the way for a possible synthesis as it views the biographical narrative as an ongoing construction gradually integrating different levels of figuration, whether factual or symbolical. This concept is particularly relevant to Pater’s notion of “habit” – which plays a central role in his own portraiture – according to which the images that can be recovered from the past are presented as a mental construction reflecting the changing environments in which they are developed. Therefore, considering the various images of Pater presented by biographers over the past century, we will examine whether the many interpretations of his life and character should be combined into a single, unified portrait or if, on the contrary, multiplicity is a precious gift that keeps his presence eternally alive for successive generations of scholars.