Autumn Harvest in Art (Millet & Van Gogh)

Cher’s Famous Art

04 October 2020

04 October 2021

”The Gleaners”

Jean-Francois Millet, 1857, Realist, France

Vincent van Gogh, 1890, Post-impressionist, France

Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Autumn Harvest

Autumn means harvest.  Millet, the artist with peasant origins, identified with the hard work of the country poor.  This oil painting depicts 3 peasant women tediously gleaning a field of stray stalks of wheat left over after the harvest.  His work was paraphrased by younger artists such as van Gogh, also seen here!

The Gleaners by Jan-Francois Millet

This painting is famous for portraying the lowest ranks of rural society in a sympathetic way, linking it with the growing movement of Socialism at the time. Having recently come out of the French Revolution of 1848, French upper classes initially received the painting very poorly. 

The prosperous classes saw the painting as glorifying the lower-class worker, making them feel uneasy about their status; masses of workers greatly outnumbered the members of the upper class. 

Also, its size (33’ x 44”) was large for a painting depicting labor, not the typical subjects seen in this size: mythology or religion (no association is implied with the biblical Ruth who also gleaned in the fields).

The Gleaners by Millet

The Gleaners by Vincent Van Gogh

The imagery of bending peasant women gleaning was paraphrased frequently in works by younger artists at the time, including an oil painting of “The Gleaners” by Vincent van Gogh in 1890. 

Enjoy Van Gogh Immersion experience if you can! I highlighted it while it was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a special blog. It makes the work or this genius come alive.

I think that it is fun that both are currently reside at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, so one can see them both on the same visit (providing, of course, that they are both on display!)

The Gleaners by Vincent Van Gogh

Musee d’Orsay, Paris

The Musee d’Orsay . . .

is a museum in Paris, France, one of the largest art museums in Europe. 

Located on the Left Bank of the Seine, it originally housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. 

Holding mostly French art dating between 1848 and 1914, it houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world including paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography. 

In 2019, there were more than 3.6 million visitors.

Musee d’ Orsay exterior, Paris, France

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