The Barbizan artists were most active from approximately 1830 until 1870. They headquartered in Barbizan, France approximately 35 miles south-southeast of Paris on the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest.
The life they documented was a mix of intensive crop and extensive pastoral agriculture. I find it aesthetically pleasing. One can make a case that traditional, European small-holdings combined both types of agriculture in an ecologically stable way. These are still considered state-of-the-art principles and are taught in permaculture classes.
Most of these images are from one artist, Jules Dupré. I chose him in particular because he provides good images of the tools of the common worker in the field.
|Yokes for carrying. I am hand carrying water to the cattle right now, so I can appreciate the advantage of a yoke. Front and rear views provided.|
|Rakes for making hay. My guess is that the fellow she is working with is her sweetheart. Detail of the split shaft with a wedge lashed in place to create the fork the bar-and-tines are attached to. Very strong and no iron needed.|
|A detail of the fork that is shown in many of Dupré paintings. This shows the same split/wedge/lashing construction and steam-bent claws.|
|A wheelbarrow, windmill and woman with patched, work-dress|
|Dupré painted many versions of this image. It must have been a big seller. I selected this version because it shows the mallet, peg and chain in detail.|
|A group of other women are in the background. It is not clear if they are watching their own sheep or not.|
|Camile Pissaro. Another sheep gleaning after harvest image. Having the sheep vacuum up shattered grain heads reduces grain contaminating/competing with the next crop. It also reduces the rodent population by denying them grain and any weed cover.|