Painting Style on The Gleaners 1857 by Jean Francois Millet

The Gleaners is the masterpiece of Millet that can best represent his painting style, which did not show any dramatic scenes, but just depicted people picking up the remaining wheat from the ground after the fall harvest.

The body of The Gleaners was three peasant women, who bent down to pick grains, and the background is a busy bunch and rich that piled high. The three women in contrast to the crowd in distance, they wore coarse clothes and heavy wooden shoes, neither beautiful nor elegance, they just bow down their bodies humbly and looked for remaining wheat from the ground.

However, this simple realism painting gave the audience an unusual solemnity. Millet generally use horizontal composition to make the figures appeared monumental in the foreground. The three main characters wore red, blue and yellow hat separately, so was their clothes, which attracted people’s attention. Besides, their actions were coherence, calm and orderly, perhaps prolonged bending labor has made them feel very tired, but they were still sticking to it. Although the face was deleted, their movement and body became more expressive, that is tolerance, modesty and loyalty.

Millet employed dignified simplicity to shape the extraordinary expressive characters, what he expressed is the intimacy between man and land. From the three farm wives we can feel a deep religious emotion, in front of survival, human reverently bow their heads. It is the religious-like feelings that make The Gleaners became a great work that connected man, land and survival together. This painting also manifested Millet’s outgoing and optimistic personality.

The Gleaners 1857 by Jean Francois Millet

The Gleaners 1857

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