19th Century
Portrait of a Peasant Girl

Oil on canvas
Image size: 15 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches (39.5 x 28.75 cm)
Original gilt frame


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This is a touching head and shoulders portrait of a young peasant girl. Wearing a headscarf, and covering her shoulders in a shawl, she gazes out away from the viewer with glistening eyes. It is clear from her ruddy red cheeks and wind swept appearance that she has spent a considerable amount of time outside.

Despite her somewhat raggedness there is still an undeniable beauty about the girl. From her pursed lips and the wisps of hair that fall across her face a gentleness is conveyed that provides a distinct contrast to the hard life that she has undoubtedly lived.

In 19th century Europe, as artists began to depict themes of modern life, they could not help address the subject of labour and labourers. Peasants and urban workers both became common subjects. Many artists did not seek to idealise their endeavours but instead to portray them, as seen here, as earnest hard working people that needed to be shown.