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The Gleaners Analysis

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The artists and artwork chosen to be analyzed in this essay are The Stonebreakers by Gustave Courbet, The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet and Third Class Carriage by Honore Daumier. These artists are all French and are known for their inspiring works of art made during The Nineteenth Century pertaining to Realism.

Gustave Courbet was best known as an innovator in Realism. He painted figurative compositions, landscapes and seascapes. He also addressed social issues, peasantry and the grave working conditions of the poor. This is especially seen in The Stonebreakers. This painting shows two peasants, a boy and a grown man, in old ragged clothes, slaving away on boulders with mallets. The painting is very detailed to the point where it has no evidence of any characteristics from the Romanticism Era or any drama. Courbet also used dreary, monotonous, and mechanical colors throughout and this reflects the sombre tone of the painting of the two peasants working on the stones. (Gustave Courbet Stonebreakers, 2011).
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He also enjoyed using peasant life as a subject for his Art. (Jean-Francois Millet, The Gleaners, 2013)
The Gleaners shows three women gleaning the last bits of wheat from a field, they are bent and their eyes are raking the ground. He also shows the three phases of the back-breaking repetitive movement imposed by this task. It’s stated by Pollock that, “His three gleaners have gigantic pretensions, they pose as the Three Fates of Poverty … their ugliness and their grossness unrelieved.“ (Griselda Pollock, Millet, London 1977, p.17)
Millet found the theme of women gleaning the last bits of wheat an eternal one, linked to stories of the Old Testament. It presented the poor class taking advantage of the age-old right to remove the last bits of grain left over from wheat harvest, in a sympathetic light. (Jean-Francois Millet, The
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