Gaetano Chierici began his studies at the Scuola di Belle Artes di Reggio-Emilia and later continued at the Accademia di Modena as well as the Accademia di Firenze from 1858. Despite being classically trained at the Accademia, by the 1860s Chierici's art shifted to embrace genre scenes that focused on pictorial realism. As a result of his faithful observances of scenes of domestic life, he became known for his depictions of peasants, their children and animals - characters that promoted pure and simple family values. His artistic sincerity reflected his own social concerns for the people and earned him the title 'poet of the family' and 'painter of childhood happiness'. It was not just the display of the symbols of daily life such as the furnishings, objects, costumes, children's toys that was important to Chierici, but the interaction between his characters and the resulting mood that is conveyed.
In the present work the viewer is witness to a little girl's dinner 'under siege' by a group of hungry chicks and cats. The staged confusion of the scene is echoed by the disarray of the interior - bits of scattered paper, sloppily hung laundry and overturned baskets fill the areas around the figures.