you're reading...
Unseen Examples

Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners

Folding Table presents examples of “The Unseen”
Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners


In his 1857 Realist painting, The Gleaners (Des glaneuses), Jean-François Millet portrays three peasant women picking up any leftover pieces of wheat after a harvest. The gleaners were the lowest of the low in French society, and the painting was received with criticism and suspicion from the middle and especially upper classes for Millet’s dignified if not sympathetic portrayal of the lower class.

We never see the faces of the women; they are too concerned to pay attention to us spectators. They must glean or go hungry. Their arched backs keep them close to the earth, but never rising high enough to meet the horizon and enjoy the bounty of the wheat harvest piled behind them. Millet paints them lest we forget one’s humble status.



No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Supported by:

%d bloggers like this: