Thursday, February 4, 2010

This is a painting from Jules Breton in the 1850's.  This painting is about peasant workers from the mid 19th century.  These workers in particular where called Gleaners.  They basically cleaned up the fields from the leftovers of the machinary.   At this time peasants were seen as ugly, gross and a shame to society.  It is very interesting to see the Gleaner in a posture that is almost heroic and pride like.  Most other interpritations would show peasants unhappy, miserable, and tired.  This painting portrays the exact opposite  Not only does the posture enhance the heroic and pride like feeling, but also the steern facial expression.  Not to metion this is a muscualar woman.  The most amazing thing about this painting is that the eyes are not making contact with the viewer.  Usually when I see a painting of a Gleaner they are either busy looking at their work or if they are looking at the viewer in an unhappy or needy way.  This woman just gives me the vibe like "don't judge me, i'm an independent Gleaner and i'm doing just fine."
The figure in the center is definitly the main idea of the painting.  I do like how the woman in the center is more clear and crisp then her surroundings.  To me it seemed like the more blurred painterly style is more associated with heat, unhappy, unimportant.  The fact that she is infront of that and a more linear style really saperates her from the background.  Also the center woman has much or blacks and darken shadows that really help her pop, compared to her surroundings that have soft shadowing and a very light in terms of vibrance. 

1 comment:

  1. Much better, Jesse. What's the title? Date?
    Watch out for assertions like "At this time peasants were seen as ugly, gross and a shame to society."- This wasn't the case- merely that the conditions of peasant labor were not considered as suitable subjects for painting, bringing too much harsh reality into what was supposed to be a more conventional art form. What I would say is that this particular painter, by making the peasant woman look so strong and heroic as you point out, is romanticizing her and denying the grueling conditions of life for a gleaner. I think this view is borne out by the painting style that makes the scene look so smooth.