Very early on in his career, Bonnard revealed himself to be an acute observer of family life. He portrays this intimacy with humour and tenderness. Here, the lighting, diffused by an oversized lamp suspended over the table, is a crucial element in the composition and the atmosphere of this scene where the artist's mother and nephews are having lunch. It divides the scene into contrasting areas, with the dining table brightly lit, and the characters in the shadows.
The characters themselves are silhouetted in the foreground of the painting. This flattening of space is typical of Bonnard's Nabi period.