Dimensions: 84 x 111 cm classicalpainting.org
Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France
By far the most recognizable of Millet’s works, The Gleaners depicts a trio of women gleaning the last bits of wheat from a field. Millet found the theme of women gleaning the last bits of wheat an eternal one, linked to stories of the Old Testament. The painting was received by the public with open scorn. It presented what at the time were the lowest ranks of society, taking advantage of the age-old right to remove the last bits of grain left over from wheat harvest, in a sympathetic light. During his lifetime, this painting garnered naught but notoriety from a French upper-class that feared glorifying the lower ranks of society, and it was not until after the artist’s death that it became more popular.