The milkmaid and her family from Le Nain

The milkmaid and her family from Le Nain
The milkmaid and her family from Le Nain

This work was madeby Louise Le Nainaround the year 1640, and it is certainly very representative of her painting style. In fact, he, along withhis brothers Antoine and Mathieurepresent the most realistic current ofBaroque painting in seventeenth-century France.

It is a painting very much in line, for example, with his emblematic Peasant Family, but in this case the painting is kept in the Russian museum of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.


The milkmaid and her family from Le Nain

As in that other work, here too the figures are of very humble characters, but they acquire quality and a monumental pose. Something that is perhaps due to the fact that they are treated almost like individualized sculptures, all of them in a very static attitude and almost isolated from each other. Although it is true that it is by putting them together visually in that scene that they acquire their full meaning.

You can see a clear difference in the interest he puts into those characters compared to the way he paints the scenery around them. Although it cannot be denied that he has the ability to do it with a tremendously accurate brushstroke due to its lightness and precision. Something that manifests itself perfectly if we look at the path of the path, composed from a single brush movement.

The truth is that Louise Le Nain was the most skilled of the three painter brothers, but it is no less true that between the three of them they assembleda workshop in Paris with enormous success and on many occasions it is difficult to judge with certainty the work that each one of them did. It also doesn't help that the three of them signed only with their last name.

The fact is that they created that realist current among themselves, in which they did not paint the humblest classes with any hint of criticism or grotesque tone. Although it is not clear that they actually painted characters of that class, and perhaps they staged such scenes with models.

With this peculiar type of painting they gained great prestige at the time, and were founding members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture of France. However, after his death, little by little the name of these artists was falling into oblivion. And it wasn't until the 19th century that leading Realism painters such as Gustave Courbet or Jean Francoise Millet recognized the value and the teaching of these paintings. So in a way we can consider paintings like thisThe Milkmaid and Her Familyas antecedents to other 19th century masterpieces like The Stonecutters or The Angelus

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