As a farmer’s son, Millet mostly painted the rural world and lifestyle at a time when it has started to disappear due to the industrialization of France. Depending on the viewer’s point of view, his work depicts either the dignity or the cruelty of peasant labor. As a characteristic to Realism, his works do not have much symbolism or drama in them, they are usually very calm and still. Millet’s paintings have a low viewpoint which gives the impression of being on the same level as the people portrayed in the paintings.
Key artwork: The Gleaners, 1857