Object Image

Man with a Hoe

"[A]s I have never seen anything but fields since I was born, I try to say as best I can what I saw and felt when I was at work," wrote Jean-François Millet. At the Salon of 1863, Man with a Hoe caused a storm of controversy. The man in the picture was considered brutish and frightening by Parisian bourgeoisie. The Industrial Revolution had caused a steady exodus from French farms, and Man with a Hoe was interpreted as a socialist protest about the peasant's plight. Though his paintings were judged in political terms, Millet declared that he was neither a socialist nor an agitator.

A religious fatalist, Millet believed that man was condemned to bear his burdens. This farmer is Everyman. His fa...

1860-1862
Oil on canvas
81.9 x 100.3cm
85.PA.114

Where you'll find this

The Getty Center
Permanent collection