Last Flowers1890 by Jules Breton
Jules Breton's paintings unite an academic concern for ideal beauty and refined technique with the realism found in peasant paintings by Jean-François Millet. Most of Breton's scenes feature rural workers engaged in everyday tasks. Rather than expressing the drudgery of agrarian labor, his subjects—like this young woman gathering a late bouquet from a snowy garden—approach their chores with simple joy and pride in accomplishment. As one contemporary reviewer noted, "Both [Millet and Breton] celebrate the occupations of rural life, the former with a kind of savage melancholy, the second with tender solemnity, austere grace and epic simplicity." Although he was primarily a figure painter, Breton's paintings are distinguished by a sensitivity to landscape, light, and atmosphere.
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