Millet's paintings, with their unprecedented depictions of peasants and their labors, mark a turning point in 19th-century art. Before Millet, peasant figures were just one of many elements in picturesque or nostalgic scenes. In Millet's work, individual men and women became heroic and real. Millet was the only major artist of the Barbizon School who was not interested in 'pure' landscape painting.
Millet's reaper and sower
Van Gogh responded particularly to Millet's depictions of the reaper and the sower. In his early career he made careful pencil copies of Millet reproductions, and would later rework the theme of the reaper and sower in paintings of his own.