In this image, Boaz (the gentleman standing on the left) stands next to his wife to be as they talk to workers who are resting after a long day of harvesting. Ruth stands with a bundle of corn ears. From the painter’s perspective, Ruth is introduced to the rest of the workers by Boaz for an afternoon meal. She feels uneasy, based on her unwillingness to step forward and by the fact that she is facing down. In addition, the team seems to be made of just men. Therefore, she would be a little uneasy interacting with them. However, Boaz reassures the lady of her safety by placing a hand on her left shoulder. It is said that Millet took more time working on this image than any other paintings in his career and, therefore, considered it a masterpiece. It also gained praise from the deeply religious society of the time. His incredible creativity brought to life an otherwise overlooked paragraph in the bible by showcasing what it would have been like for Ruth to start working under Boaz.
Jean was one of the famous artists in the Barbizon School of Painting for his work on realism. He sought to bring to life the moment and events of everyday life through his works of art. This was against the prevailing wave of the time that focused on the romantic, highly emotional type of painting. Realism comes from the word ‘Reality,’ which is focused on everyday life with a particular interest in highlighting nature. Jean was particularly interested in the fields and workers. He could transform any piece of art that showed the fields and workers into a masterpiece. With the art, he could show what workers really went through to put food on their tables. He also breathed into life the extensive fields of the team.
Millet was deeply spiritual and believed that workers showed the biblical principles of working hard and combining efforts. So, in Harvesters Resting (Ruth and Boaz), and other pieces of art like the Gleaners, he was not fighting for the rights of workers but showing how they put their efforts together. However, part of his art was used to highlight the problems faced by lower-class workers in society.