Cézanne began working in the still-life genre early in his career, exploring the architectural qualities and sense of volume of forms in the picture plane. In a still life, the artist could arrange his subjects - the fruit, dishes, and other items - himself, and then they remained still, motionless, forever. Nor were they disturbed if he altered their forms or changed how they were arranged in composing a painting. Looking closely at this work, we see that the left side of the milk container and the right side of the bowl are both painted to parallel the left and right edges of the painting. This is a good example of his altering forms to make the composition more stable. What may have set Cézanne wrestling with the still life from about 1870 was, in part, the influence of the still lifes by the eighteenth century French painter Chardin, which had just been bequested to the Louvre.