The Gleaners (1889) by Camille Pissarro

The Gleaners - Camille Pissarro - 1889

Artwork Information

TitleThe Gleaners
ArtistCamille Pissarro
Dimensions65.5 x 81 cm
Art MovementPointillism,Neo-Impressionism
Current LocationKunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland

About The Gleaners

Created by Camille Pissarro in 1889, “The Gleaners” is an oil on canvas artwork that falls within the Pointillism and Neo-Impressionism art movements. The piece measures 65.5 by 81 cm and can be characterized as genre painting, which depicts scenes of everyday life. The artwork is housed at the Kunstmuseum Basel, located in Basel, Switzerland.

The artwork features a rural scene of agricultural labor, with figures engaged in the act of gleaning, which is the collection of leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested. In the foreground, several individuals are bent over or kneeling, gathering what remains on the ground, while another figure stands to the side, overseeing or taking a pause. In the background, the expansive field recedes into the distance, where more figures can be seen continuing the laborious task. The overall composition is bathed in warm light, indicating a time close to either sunrise or sunset, with long shadows stretching across the undulating ground.

Pissarro’s technique is evident in the small, distinct dots of color which are a hallmark of Pointillism, a technique where tiny, individual dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image when viewed from a distance. The artist’s attention to the interplay of light, color, and form is meticulous, creating a vibrant atmosphere that is at once idyllic and reflective of the toil of the working class. The artwork not only captures a snapshot of rural activity but also subtly comments on the social conditions of the time, a recurrent theme in Pissarro’s work and that of other impressionist painters who sought to depict the realities of contemporary life.

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