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The Cover
May 3, 2000


Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(17):2211. doi:10.1001/jama.283.17.2211

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.

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