John Golding has asserted that "at the outbreak of the Second World War  Braque was at the zenith of his maturity and had attained international recognition as one of the greatest living French artists. The still-lifes executed in the second half of the 1930s are among the fullest and most sumptuous in the entire French canon" (in Braque: The Late Works, exh. cat., The Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1997, p.1).
Braque had devoted most of his time during the pre-war decade to large-scale decorative still-lifes, in which he orchestrated a proliferation of details within an abruptly flattened space to create densely woven ornamental patterns. The Baroque richness of these compositions recalls the elaborate still-life paintings of the 17th century Dutch school. At the same time, Braque also painted smaller works, such as the present painting, in which he largely eschewed decorative surfaces, and instead treated a small number of humble, everyday objects in a simpler and more classically austere manner. These show a debt to Francisco Zurbarán and other 17th century Spanish painters, and even more significantly, point to Braque's admiration for Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, the 18th century French master of the intimate still-life.
The subdued and solemn harmony of Nature morte au pichet stems from Braque's use of contrasting light and dark space, a characteristic of his work since the 1920s, in which he employed white and black elements to define the essential structure of the composition. Against this pictorial architecture he has juxtaposed smaller areas of delicate color, using pale tones such as mauve, ochre and olive green. The artist's focus on such ordinary and basic items related to the daily repast invokes a contemplative mood, a consideration of and reverence for things profoundly human, which are all the more poignant because he was working in grave, uncertain times. "All these objects truly belong to Braque, they are part of the tactile or manual space which he so frequently mentioned. Caressed by his hand--which has held the glass, touched the guitar, poured water from the jug--and by his visionary imagination, they are the interface between the artist's inner world and the space where he works. The object then is not a barrier to thought, but on the contrary, stimulates it, becoming an integral part of the process of thought-painting which is at the core of Braque's work. The object becomes the subject of contemplation, in the fullest sense of the word" (I. Monod-Fontaine, "Georges Braque's Still-lifes," Braque: Order and Emotion, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros, Greece, 2003, p. 19).