A family of peasants returns home along a rutted road that runs alongside fields golden with ripe crops. The man carries a scythe and the woman a rake. Their two young children ride on a donkey, which is equipped with a sturdy wooden frame for carrying hay or vegetables on either side. The child in front urges the donkey on with a small stick. A diffuse, bright light casts long shadows. Jules Veyrassat trained in the Paris studio of Henri Lehmann (1814-1882), a pupil of Ingres, and an admirer of the work of the Nazarenes and of Italian 17th century painting. Veyrassat's subject matter is also close to that of his friend Jean-François Millet, with whom he shared the common aim of depicting the nobility and dignity of peasant labourers. In contrast to the work of Millet, however, Veyrassat's peasants are often painted in a romanticised, Italianate idiom, in which the landscapes are bathed in a bright, golden light that mitigates the reality of the hardships they endured.
unframed: 22.2cm x 35.2cm
framed: 46.8cm x 60.4cm
Place of creation
Mr James Thomas Blair bequest, 1917.
© Manchester Art Gallery