The Dignity of Farming, in 19th Century Art

Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made His peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.

Thomas Jefferson
Notes on the State of Virginia

We thoroughly enjoyed this small exhibit entitled, The Agrarian Ideal in Late 19th-Century Art: Monet, van Gogh, and Homer, at the Chrysler Museum.  We visited in October, so the images of hay stacks, and fields, and plow horses had an appropriately seasonal feel. The exhibit, and the paintings, reflect the common experience when humans tire of the pressures and superficiality of the city, and seek solace in the country where wide open skies, and tall trees and endless fields feed something that surely our Maker has placed in us.  People appreciate afresh the dignity of plain weathered faces, simple but honest lives, work that actually produces something useful.

There were a few visiting canvases, Claude Monet’s Haystacks, Late Summer, from Paris, and van Gogh’s Wheat Field behind St. Paul’s Hospital from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The Winslow Homer work, Song of the Lark, is one of my favorites housed at the Chrysler, as is another favorite, the Alfred Sisley Apple Trees in Flower.  Two of our new favorites, Plow Horses and Home, had not caught our eyes in previous visits.  One of the reasons I really appreciate special exhibits like this one, that gather paintings and works of art by a theme, is the inevitable introduction to unfamiliar artists and their beautiful works.

The exhibit will be on display through January 8th, 2017.

A few of our favorites:

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