Cultured Wednesday: Léon Augustin Lhermitte’s Gleaners

Léon Augustin Lhermitte was a French naturalist painter whose primary subject matter was rural scenes.

Studying the French naturalist painter Léon Augustin Lhermitte (born 31 July 1844 in Mont-Saint-Père, died 28 July 1925 in Paris), one cannot help but think that, when he saw the women gleaning in the fields after the harvesters were done, he thought of Ruth and Boaz.  How a story from the pages of the Bible can come alive when you watch the workers in the fields of your own neighborhood…

Lhermitte Les Glaneurs 1887
Les Glaneurs (The Gleaners), 1887

Looking at more of Lhermitte’s paintings, one realizes quickly just how much he must have been rooted in Christianity.  He valued family and family life with many children, and man as created, busily going about taking dominion of the earth, preferably in a group since even if the job is hard, “Many hands make light work”.  Besides, you find paintings with obvious religious content, from Gospel scenes to people praying.  Scroll through the list we linked to above to see more of his paintings for an illustration of this.

But his main focus seem to have been the harvesters of late 19th century rural France, which is why we chose two of his gleaning scenes for your consideration today.  The featured image is slightly cropped.  If you have the time, look at the people in the painting above, or in any of his many other paintings with a similar theme, and note how carefully he crafted the expressions on their faces, the details in their postures, their clothes and their tools.  I will add one more painting of harvesters (though not gleaners) for this purpose below, but really, there are many paintings of his that are well worth spending time on.

Paying the Harvesters 1882
La Paye des Moissonneurs (Paying the Harvesters), 1882

Author: Anne

~ In the right order of nature, the flesh is subject to the spirit and not the reverse. ~ The Cloud of Unknowing

13 thoughts on “Cultured Wednesday: Léon Augustin Lhermitte’s Gleaners”

    1. I thought so, too, and the theme even fits with May 1st, although I didn’t think of it when I wrote the post. It was a happy accident.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Man weiß zu wenig: Das Bildnis des Mannes im Vordergrund zeigt dedizierte Intellektualität. Vielleicht war es eine Zeit, die Bauern und einfachen Arbeitern einer Stimme geben sollte – sozusagen eine sozialistische Ader des Malers ?!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Da muss ich passen. Seine Religioesitaet laesst sich aus den Gemaelden nachzeichnen, aber in Bezug auf politische Neigungen bin ich ueberfragt.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ich lese zur Zeit auch viel Geschichtliches.
        Auch zu Marx, lasalle und Zeitgenossen, ohne aber ein Experte zu sein.
        Daß hier Arbeitern eine Seele und Intellekt zugesprochne wird (auch den anderen Starken, aufrechten Figuren), daß deutet auf eine quasi politische Mission hin.
        Wann Gewerkschaftsbestrebungen begonnen, kann ich auch nicht sagen. In England aufgrund der Industrialisierung schon im 18. Jahrhundert vermutlich früher.
        Ohne den Background ist solch ein Gemälde nicht deutbar.
        Es ist großartig, 1882 entstanden..
        Ich würde NIE in eine Ausstellung des Realismus gehen, wenn NICHT eine zeitgeschichtliche Dimension thematisiert würde und mitschwingen würde.

        Dank für die Vorstellung.

        Ich bin zur Zeit nicht mehr so in der Lage, deinen und anderen Blogs zu folgen. Daher bitte Entschuldigung dafür.

        Liked by 1 person

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