The Haymakers, 1887
Léon Augustin Lhermitte (1844-1924)
At first glance, this painting appears to be a spontaneous and relaxed depiction of a peasant family in the field, resting during or after haymaking. However, the artist has not simply recorded what he saw. He probably did a number of outdoor studies of the scene, later transferring them to canvas in his studio. The composition is carefully constructed; the figures’ heads form a half circle, leading the viewer’s eye along each one individually and then into the distance.