One of the most admired works by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens is “Return of the Farm Workers” or “The Return of the Peasants”. The painting was created using oil on wooden panels and dates back to between 1632 and 1634. It portrays a happy peasant wedding procession, with several peasants returning from their hard labor in the fields. Today, this painting can be found hanging in the Palazzo Pitti museum in Florence, Italy.
It’s easy to see why this painting is one of Rubens’ masterpieces. He displays incredible detail in every aspect of his work and captures the joyous nature of celebrating an important rural event. Additionally, he conveys an insight into the everyday lives of peasants, creating a slice-of-life portrait that art patrons could relate to centuries later.
A similar artwork by Rubens is Portrait Of Susanna Fourment (c. 1622–25), which was also painted on wood panels with oil paint and is part of Rubens’ renowned representation of 17th century life. The return of the peasant laborers from their labor depicted in “Return Of The Peasants From The Fields” immortalizes those everyday moments perfectly while simultaneously depicting beauty and realism.