From the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
This is the earliest of all the paintings by Matisse in the Hermitage. Executed in 1897, it allows us to see how his work, albeit for but a short time, reflected the Impressionist view of the world. This makes itself felt in the direct contact with nature and the depiction of the world as a unity of light and colour. The light softly flowing from the window fills the painting with coloured reflections and the concrete world of objects seems to be in the power of the vibrant light environment. The lemon and the blue pot, by the very nature of their colours and as important elements in the painting, which "support" the composition, could easily have become resonant colour accents, but in Impressionist manner Matisse carefully subordinates colour to light, thus dulling their intensity. Yet in this small work there is none of the Impressionist fragmentation of surface. Light achieves its colour transformations within the precisely organised space of the painting: the sharp diagonal of the window-ledge and the clear verticals and horizontals of the walls and window make the composition dynamic and yet stable at the same time.