A couple sits at a table eating a meal while an elderly woman feeds a child by the window. The furniture, walls and shelves are full of bottles, plates, pots, baskets and other household utensils. The light enters the room from the viewer’s direction and through the window on the right. Perspective is created by the table, the stone flags on the floor, the furniture and the strong shading of the figures. Petkovšek conceived the work in the Veneto region in 1888, the year of his impulsive marriage to the seventeen-year-old Marija Filipesco, when he and his bride set off on a honeymoon tour of Italy that would later be interrupted by the painter’s mental illness.
Petkovšek spent some time in Paris, where he was inspired by the works of the successful painter Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) and, in particular, by those of Léon Lhermitte (1844–1925) and Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848–1884). Venetian Kitchenis Petkovšek’s attempt at painting a monumental rustic genre piece in which the influences of Paris have already faded and Petkovšek’s mental disquiet is evident in the dark scene, uncomfortable atmosphere and a room in which every last corner is crammed with objects. He returned to this atmosphere in his next large painting (At Home), in which he once again painted a beam of light falling through the window, although without the effect that a similar beam has in the painting Before the Hunt which his colleague Jurij Šubic (1855–1890) successfully showed at the Paris Salon in 1883, the year before Petkovšek arrived in France. Petkovšek also painted a larger version of Venetian Kitchen, today lost, and several studies (one of which is hidden beneath Petkovšek’s study of Bastien-Lepage’s painting Haymaking).