Hay-Making (Les Foins), by Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884), 1877, exhibited 1878. Oil on canvas, H. 160; W. 195 cm. Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Source: Crastre, Plate IV, following p. 32. In its unflinching realism, this was a revolutionary painting, engravings of which sold widely — according to François Crastre, "to the extent of millions of copies" (36). Crastre describes the painting as representing "a vast sun-bathed meadow, overstrewn with new-mown hay and punctuated, here and there, by the rounded cones of the stacks.... In the foreground a robust, bony-armed country-woman is seated on the grass, her legs stretched out before her in an attitude expressive of the utter weariness resulting from the work performed.... The man beside her, no less worn out than she, is stretched at full length on the thick couch of grass, and with his hat over his face, to shelter it from the sun, he is sleeping as though dead to the world. He adds, "nothing could be more impressive than these two uncouth, vulgar, homely human beings, set amid the splendour of a meadow turned golden by the sun" (36-37). This impressed other artists, including George Clausen, who particularly admired his work, John Lavery, and Henry Herbert LaThangue.

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Crastre, François. Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884). Frederick A. Stokes, 1914. Internet Archive. Contributed by University of California Libraries. Web. 12 March 2020.

Created 12 March 2020