From the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
One's first impression of this still life is of flickering colours which seem to have control of the canvas surface. But, as always in the work of Matisse, the painting is made up of a combination of "feeling and logic". The energetic rhomboid twist of the table forms a stable centre to the painting space. The bright, pure colour of the fruit, the uninsistent central axis formed by the milk jug and dark bottle, and the precise placing of objects around it, all introduce a classical clarity to the work. At the same time Matisse uses dynamic brushstrokes and the flickering areas of colour to transform his favourite blue tablecloth - also seen in "The Red Room" (1908) and "Still Life with a Blue Tablecloth" (1909; both Hermitage), but which changes in each work in accordance with the spirit and purpose of the painting. As X-ray study of the painting has shown, the still life was painted over another work, the dark tints of which show through the background. The artist covered the earlier painting with only a thin layer of white, over which he worked the ornamental strokes of yellow, red and green. The result is a marvelous example of his work during his Fauvist period.