by Alexandra Tuschka
Zehn Jahre lang studierte Millet das Motiv, bis diese Beschäftigung schließlich in diesem Werk seinen Abschluss fand. Das Leben der Bauern und des ländlichen Proletariats war ein beliebtes Thema des Malers.
It is already evening in this picture. The sun has bathed the surroundings in a reddish light. The ladies shown here have permission to pick up the remaining ears of corn in the mown fields. How ritualized this takes place shows the almost parallel arranged women who reach for the ears of corn. The lady on the right has already straightened up, but continues to arch her back in order to search the ground for food with her gaze. Haystacks, sheaves, wagons and numerous harvesters are in the background as a contrast. A steward on horseback can also be seen - overlooking and controlling the action.
Millet's view of the difficult fate of the ear harvesters is consistently tender - homogeneously the farmers' wives fit into the light-flooded surroundings; they seem almost graceful in their almost meditative occupation.
Jean-Francois Millet - The Gleaners
Oil on canvas, 1857, 84 x 111 cm, Musée d'Orsay in Paris