The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
Even if they did not know his name, they knew his work. Virtually every
schoolchild of a century ago was familiar with at least one of the brownish
rural scenes that hung in the classrooms and hallways of America's schools:
a man leaning wearily on a hoe, a husband and wife paused in prayer in the
midst of their tilling, three women gleaning grain. They were pictures of
French peasants, and they glorified the hard, unremitting, and often thankless
task of cultivating the soil. That the artist was himself a peasant only added
to the didactics. Today the same pictures are seen as outmoded, pious, sentimental,
even mawkish. Their author, Jean-François Millet (1814-1875), whose
very name refers to rural life, is seldom mentioned, except sometimes in a
half-remembered thought or moment of nostalgia.
Southgate MT. Horse. JAMA. 2000;283(17):2211. doi:10.1001/jama.283.17.2211