In this oil painting, the artist captured a very lyrical shepherd life scene (sky, grassland, sheep, praying girl): under the high horizon, flat and vast, wearing a red scarf and shawl the shepherdess was staying lonely with the flock. Her head wrapped in dark red embroidered cap and thick felt weaved a sweater back to the herd and rosy clouds. Her slightly bowed figure and concentrated expression looked like a prayer.
Some people say that the faithful shepherdess is Millet, or that is his spiritual embodiment. The everlasting theme in this painting is the painter's piety to the earth and the nature. Standing in the wilderness, the depressed shepherdess seemed to be in silent praying in the afterglow of sunset. Because of his own experience, Millet felt the bitterness and pain of the poor workers. Therefore he created this painting with his compassion and sympathetic mentality.
The farmer painter Jean Francois Millet had witnessed that the peasants had to struggle for their lives in the strict and inhumane labor. Thus when he saw the nature, he also naturally noticed the human surrounded by the earth and the nature. Compared with the Holland genre paintings, this painting was only depicting the sheep and shepherdess praying in dark without any dramatic events. At first glance, the composition was somewhat random. The quietness of atmosphere was deepened further through the deep twilight. This painting accidentally made Millet obtain the consistent high praise in the official exhibitions, perhaps because of the "reality" captured in the painting. Millet's works will beyond the age and deeply move us. In 1864, Hirtin won high praise at the Paris Salon Exhibition. No matter in color, or the image of shepherdess, they were treated in detail, unity and harmony. Lyric melancholy strengthened both the realistic moving force and the local flavor.