Peasants Bringing Home a Calf Born in the Fields was an oil on canvas painting that was exhibited on Salon in Paris in 1864. In the painting, Jean presents two men carrying a young calf that is seated on straws and supported by wooden planks. The cow, probably the one that has calved down, touches the calf with its snout. There is a lady behind the cow and two small girls down the path, on the entrance to the building. According to the title, the peasants are returning from the fields where the cow has calved down.
This image shows the humble lifestyles of the poor in society, especially the rural areas. It also shows Jean's connection to the rural countryside. Millet was born to a middle-class family in 1814 and never forgot his roots. In the image, the subjects have torn clothes and seem unhealthy, a true testimony of poor living conditions.
The painter has played with colours and light to bring both a sombre mood and some happiness. These peasants are happy that their cow has calved down and the young girls will get some milk to take. However, their sorry state overshadows the moment of happiness from the scene. Nevertheless, the warm rays of sunshine and the green, peaceful landscape show a perfect harmony with nature in the image. From the image, the viewers can get a glimpse of the kind of life that rural dwellers led during his lifetime.
The Explanation for the Image
While a significant number of reviewers feel that Peasants Bringing Home a Calf Born in the Fields shows the hardships of the peasants in the Victorian era, some critics believe it has a resemblance to biblical scenes. This group believes that it looks similar to the procession that carried the ark of the covenant of Nativity. They point to the fact that Jean was incredibly spiritual. All in all, it had an emphatic feel to it that cannot be overlooked. Most of his work showed the life of the ordinary man, especially in the fields.
Style of the Art
Jean used the realism style of art to present his ideas across. This style was new at his time, as many people were focused on Romanticism. Realism emphasised on creating pieces of art that were close to the daily lives of the people who one interacted with. There were no imaginary figures, ghosts or the supernatural. The artwork was the best description of everyday life, the landscape and different events.