videos + essays
Ford Madox Brown, Work
Muscles, morals, and mongrels help to illustrate the stratification of social class in Victorian England.
Édouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère
Manet turns the tables—or in this case, the bar—on how we view painting.
Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers (Les raboteurs de parquet)
The male body at work is gorgeously glorified in Caillebotte’s canvas, raising questions of class and sexuality.
Jean-François Millet, L’Angélus
This sentimental scene of a quiet moment of prayer in the fields reflects a nostalgia for religion in modern France.
Rosa Bonheur, Plowing in the Nivernais (or The First Dressing)
Rosa Bonheur defies the patriarchy, one masterfully painted ox at a time.
Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners
Soft and lovely though it may be, this image struck fear in the hearts of urban elites when it was first exhibited.
Gustave Courbet, The Stonebreakers
Courbet chooses the real over the ideal in this harsh look at the labor that built the modern world.