Secrets behind the painting: the Angelus –

The Angelus is perhaps one of his best-known works of Jean Millettwell-known French artist and forerunner of the rural realism. This is due to the fact that it has been widely accepted by the bourgeoisie, given that the countryside and everything related to it symbolized positive feelings at that time, valuing the work beyond its pictorial faculties.

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In it, there is a remarkably inclined peasant couple, praying in the middle of a plain that refers to the typical landscapes countrymerging the figures that star in the painting with the environment itself.

But beyond its artistic characteristics, there is a great detail that hides this painting and that with the passing of time was being forgotten by the common people, letting themselves be carried away by the beauty of the oil and the sensations that those people transmit praying the Angelusthanking for the harvests.

The painting shows these two peasants who are surrounding a empty basket resting on the ground. But said basket once had content inside. When millet captured his paintings on canvas, he portrayed a couple of peasants with completely sorrowful faces, praying under deep pain caused by the being that was in the basket, a small little boy a few months ago he had recently died. This would be his son and the peasants would not find themselves praying the Angelus to thank him for his crops but would be praying for their recently dead little one.

When presenting the work, the artist received harsh criticism about the harsh reality it presented, being little accepted by the general public, who were not used to seeing paintings with themes of these characteristics. Thus, millet chose to paint over the basket that contained the child, blurring the previous and leaving it empty, making people forget the true meaning of the work and giving it a connotation different from its initial intention.