As one of Ribot's early paintings dedicated to the theme of the cook, this work establishes both the painter's abilities as a tonalist and as an intimist. Ribot has concentrated on the way in which the young cook offers a morsel of food to the playful cat and on the theatrically illuminated environment, in which the cook has been positioned. Attention moves from the brilliantly painted plate of eggs, to the white uniform of the cook, to the subtle highlights on the glass of wine and the earthenware pitcher on the floor; these provide details that add further character to the genre scene. Included in Ribot's retrospective exhibition at he Ecole des Beaux-Arts in May, 1892, this painting reiterated the artist's reputation as a master painter of a major theme; cooks had proliferated in popularity and Ribot was recognized as the first painter in the nineteenth century to contribute to this appreciation.
We are grateful to Dr. Gabriel R.Weisberg for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.