At Work / On the Land (1898) by Piet Mondrian

At Work / On the Land - Piet Mondrian - 1898

Artwork Information

TitleAt Work / On the Land
ArtistPiet Mondrian
Dimensions54.4 x 78.7 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationGemeentemuseum den Haag, Hague, Netherlands

About At Work / On the Land

The artwork titled “At Work / On the Land” was created by artist Piet Mondrian in 1898. It is a gouache painting that embodies the Post-Impressionism art movement. The dimensions of the piece are 54.4 x 78.7 cm, and it depicts a landscape. Currently, this piece of art is located at the Gemeentemuseum den Haag in The Hague, Netherlands.

The painting portrays a bucolic scene with a focus on rural labor. In the foreground, there is a farmer working the land with the help of two horses pulling a plow. The horses are portrayed as strong and muscular, dominating the lower part of the composition. The farmer is seen walking beside them, guiding the plow through rich, dark soil, which has been rendered with deep, curving furrows that provide a sense of movement and rhythm to the landscape. The earthy tones used for the soil and the horses suggest the organic nature of the work and the land.

Above the main scene of the laborer and his horses, the middle ground reveals a thinly planted row of trees or bushes, hinting at a division between fields. In the background, a soft, flat horizon line is visible beneath a subdued sky. The sky’s pastel hues mark a stark contrast with the dark tones of the lower composition, indicating either early morning or late afternoon light.

The overall aesthetic is one of simplicity and harmony between human labor and the natural landscape. While Mondrian is more famously known for his later abstract works consisting of grid patterns and primary colors, “At Work / On the Land” showcases his earlier engagement with naturalistic and figurative subjects, reflecting the Post-Impressionist interest in capturing life’s realities with a personal touch and emotional underpinning.

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