Jean-François Millet (1814 - 1875), 1867-1868
pastel and chalk on paper,
71.5 cm x 93.5 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
Millet used pastel to draw this impressive scene of day’s end in the countryside. In the background we see the rooftops of Barbizon, the French artists’ village . The peasants’ work is done. The hay has been gathered in large forbidding stacks, next to which the figures look like minuscule creatures. The lowering sky emphasizes the power of nature.
The drawing is surprisingly colourful. Millet applied the pastel crayons with some force, blending the lines here and there with his fingers. He accentuated the contours and shadows of the sheep, the landscape, and the sky with black chalk.