Shortly after this painting was completed Velazquez produced a similar title in The Farmers' Lunch which varied the composition slightly but was ultimately a continuation along the same theme. The earlier work can now be found in the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg as part of an impressive collection of famous art from the Middle Ages through to the Renaissance and all the way up to the present day.
The Lunch combines portraiture and still life, with several relaxed figures dotted around a table which itself is covered loosely by several items of food (two pomegranates and some bread). There is also an opportunity to see how Velazquez was developing his use of light and also the way in which he displayed draped clothing.
The reproduction photographs of this painting often fail to deliver some some of the detail to be found in the background which includes a bag and a sword. This charming artwork features daily life for individuals with relatively simple lives - a far cry from Velazquez's work in later years when he would receive commissions to paint some of the most connected people in all of Europe.
The original Spanish title of this painting was Tres hombres a la mesa (El almuerzo) and it reminds some of a later painting called The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh. In that artwork the Dutchman would depict the lives of the poor and felt passionately about covering their lives which many artists would ignore or perhaps not even ever experience.
The collection to be found at the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg also includes oil paintings by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Nicolas Poussin, Rembrandt and El Greco.