Art Prints

Home

Augusta Stylianou Gallery

Buy Fine Art

<-----===========------->

Loading

Artist Index
A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Jean-François Millet


The Gleaners
Jean-François Millet
1857
Oil on Canvas
84 × 111 cm (33.07 × 43.70 in)
Musée d'Orsay,  Paris

The Gleaners (Des glaneuses) is an oil painting by Jean-François Millet composed in 1857. It depicts three peasant women gleaning a field of stray grains of wheat after the harvest. The painting is famous for monumentalizing what were then the lowest ranks of rural society. The painting was received poorly by the French upper class. The Gleaners was also the inspiration for the name of the Gleaner Manufacturing Company.

History

Millet first unveiled The Gleaners at the Salon in 1857. It immediately drew negative criticism from the middle and upper classes, who viewed the topic with suspicion: one art critic, speaking for other Parisians, perceived in it an alarming intimation of "the scaffolds of 1793."[1] Having recently come out of the French Revolution of 1848, these prosperous classes saw the painting as glorifying the lower-class worker.[1] To them, it was a reminder that French society was built upon the labor of the working masses, and landowners linked this working class with the growing movement of Socialism and the dangerous voices of Karl Marx and Émile Zola.[2]

One critic commented that "his three gleaners have gigantic pretensions, they pose as the Three Fates of Poverty…their ugliness and their grossness unrelieved."[3] While the act of gleaning was not a new topic—representations of Ruth had already been composed—this new work was a statement on rural poverty and not Biblical piety:[3] there is no touch of the Biblical sense of community and compassion in contrast of the embodiments of grinding poverty in the foreground and the rich harvest in the sunlit distance beyond. The implicit irony was unsettling. After the Salon, Millet, short on money, sold his piece for 3,000 francs—below his asking price of 4,000,[4] haggling with an Englishman named Binder who would not budge for his meagre counter-offer; Millet tried to keep the miserable price a secret.[5] While The Gleaners garnered little but notoriety during his life, after his death in 1875, public appreciation of his work steadily broadened. In 1889, the painting, then owned by banker Ferdinand Bischoffsheim, sold for 300,000 francs at auction.[4][6] The following year its owner, Champagne heiress Jeanne-Alexandrine Pommery, died, and following the conditions of her will, the painting was donated to the Louvre.[7] It now resides in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Composition

The Gleaners is an example of Realism.

What does The Gleaners show? [The women] embody an animal force deeply absorbed by a painstaking task. The contrast between wealth and poverty, power and helplessness, male and female spheres is forcefully rendered.
— Liana Vardi[8]

The Gleaners features three peasant women prominently in the foreground, stooping to glean the last scraps of a wheat harvest. Their gaze does not meet the viewer, and their faces are obscured. In the background, bountiful amounts of wheat are being stacked while a landlord overseer stands watch on the right. Millet has chosen to center the women and paint them with a greater contrast. The earthy figures blend into the color of the piece, ingraining them well into the scene. Through the misalignment of vanishing points among the three women (as drawn along the backs of the women), and in particular never aligning with the central focus of the background, Millet conveys the message that while the lowest-class women occupy the same canvas as the abundance depicted in the background, they will never be a part of that actual physical abundance--they occupy their own space layered on top of another space, in both the painting and in real life. This is a commentary on the lower classes' inaccessibility to upward mobility.



References

   1. ^ a b Kimmelman, Michael (August 27, 1999). "ART REVIEW; Plucking Warmth From Millet's Light". The New York Times (New York City). http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E07E2DC143BF934A1575BC0A96F958260. Retrieved 2008-01-10
   2. ^ Kleiner, Fred; Christian J. Mamiya (2005). Gardner's Art Through the Ages (12 ed.). California: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. p. 857. ISBN 0-534-64091-5.
   3. ^ a b "Story behind the picture - The Gleaners". University of St. Andrews. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~waste/timeline/story-pic1.html. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
   4. ^ a b Fratello, Bradley (December 2003). "France embraces Millet: the intertwined fates of The Gleaners and The Angelus". The Art Bulletin (The Art Bulletin, Vol. 85, No. 4) 85 (4): 685–701. doi:10.2307/3177365. http://jstor.org/stable/3177365.
   5. ^ Étienne Moreau-Nélaton, Millet racconté par lui-même, (Paris: 1921)
   6. ^ Bradley Fratello, "France Embraces Millet", The Art Bulletin, 1 December 2003
   7. ^ Bradley Fratello, "France Embraces Millet", The Art Bulletin, 1 December 2003.
   8. ^ Vardi, Liana (December 1993). "Construing the Harvest: Gleaners, Farmers, and Officials in Early Modern France". The American Historical Review (The American Historical Review, Vol. 98, No. 5) 98 (5): 1424–1447. doi:10.2307/2167061. http://jstor.org/stable/2167061. Retrieved 2008-01-10.

    * Kimmelman, Michael (August 27, 1999), "ART REVIEW; Plucking Warmth From Millet's Light", The New York Times (New York City), retrieved 2008-01-10
    * Kleiner, Fred; Christian J. Mamiya (2005). Gardner's Art Through the Ages (12 ed.). California: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. p. 857. ISBN 0-534-64091-5.
    * "Story behind the picture - The Gleaners". University of St. Andrews. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
    * >Fratello, Bradley (December 2003). "France embraces Millet: the intertwined fates of The Gleaners and The Angelus". The Art Bulletin 85 (4): 685–701. doi:10.2307/3177365.
    * Étienne Moreau-Nélaton, Millet racconté par lui-même, (Paris: 1921)
    * Bradley Fratello, "France Embraces Millet", The Art Bulletin, 1 December 2003
    * Vardi, Liana (December 1993). "Construing the Harvest: Gleaners, Farmers, and Officials in Early Modern France". The American Historical Review 98 (5): 1424–1447. doi:10.2307/2167061.
    * Cole, Bruce and Adelheid Gealt. Art of the Western World. Simon & Schuster, 1991


From Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

Jean-François Millet

Artist Index
A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

==--==--==

Home

==++==++==

Paintings, Drawings