Girl carrying water, 1856
Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)
A peasant woman carries two buckets of water from the well to her house. Millet also painted a canvas of this scene that is more than a metre high. It was a characteristic of Realism to present such a simple subject on this large scale. Realist painters such as Jean-François Millet, Gustave Courbet and Jules Breton depicted the daily life of the agricultural labourer. They focused on small, insignificant details in the landscape and portrayed poor peasants in an almost heroic style.
Millet belongs to the Barbizon School, a group of painters who chiefly painted landscapes. However, he was the only one of the group whose main preoccupation was the depiction of people.