The peasant is a muscular man with broad shoulders who leans forward in motion to exert force and push away the heavy wheelbarrow. The peasant is retiring from his daily work after a long day of manual labor with a hoe and the farm produce in the wheelbarrow. A golden light shines on the peasants' simple clothes indicating it had been a sunny day as he has a hat on and his shrugging shoulders a show of exhaustion. Millet belonged to the realism movement. He is noted for paintings of peasant farmers in their daily activities. Peasant with a Wheelbarrow is a painting depicting the vanishing way of life of the rural people migrating into towns and cities in the wake of the industrial revolution.
He emphasized the human figure a style which he grew into and which differentiates his artwork from other artists. Through his paintings of peasant farmers he is seen to appreciate and celebrate the efforts of those who feed populations with their work. Honore Daumier whose figures sculptor influenced Millet to render peasant subjects and Alfred Sensier a government official and a lifelong supporter of Millet works inspired his artworks. Other related artworks of Millet include: The Sower a painting of a man with a bag of seeds across his chest as he scatters the seeds across the field and Harvesters Resting is a painting of a group of dirty and tired harvesters sitting together after a long day at work. His life and artwork inspired plays, poems and other artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Camille Pissaro.
Critics attacked his works for having religious themes and his use of exaggerated man objects in his landscape paintings which occupied so much space of his artworks. This did not stop him as he expressed a way of life of the people of rural areas. Through his paintings, He is seen to be a man of religion with an emphasis on the need to work. He teaches us the beauty of life in the sight of hard labor and man dealing with fate.