This is the most significant work in Derain's series of monumental compositions in the early 1910s. The title is said to have been given by Guillaume Apollinaire. The everyday scene has acquired an almost ritual nature. Derain makes use not only of the classical, but also the mediaeval tradition, as can be seen from the portrayal of the table in reverse perspective, the symbolical gestures, the sharp folds reminiscent of ornament, and the significance of the genre details.
The picture aroused the interest of André Breton, the leading theoretician of Surrealism. It was purchased by Sergei Shchukin from the Kahnweiler Gallery in Paris in 1913.