Studies of a Peasant Digging (Études d'un paysan bêchant)

Accession Number

Studies of a Peasant Digging (Études d'un paysan bêchant)

Camille Pissarro

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
graphite on greenish-yellow wove paper

8 3/16 in. x 4 5/8 in. ( 20.8 cm x 11.8 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Spring/Summer 2012
Camille Pissarro
France, 1830–1903
Studies of a Peasant Digging
Graphite on greenish-yellow paper
Museum purchase, 1963/2.21
Both Millet and Pissarro created enduring images of peasants at work. Although they approach this subject differently, Millet’s man with a wheelbarrow and Pissarro’s sketch of a man digging both reflect the appeal of peasant labor as a theme in art after the Revolution of 1848, when common people were increasingly of interest to intellectuals and politicians. In this period some artists began to reject mythological and historical topics in favor of humble figures drawn from contemporary society. Millet was an important realist painter and printmaker specializing in scenes of rustic life and his work greatly influenced Pissarro
Works on paper are fragile and light sensitive and therefore can remain on view for only a few months at a time. As a result, prints in these drawers are rotated throughout the year. Please visit often to experience more of UMMA’s outstanding collection of works on paper.

Subject matter
This quick series of sketches done from life would be the kind of studies that Pissarro would later incorporate into a larger work showing men at work.

Physical Description
This quick pencil study shows five sketches of a man digging; he is not seen in a single pose, but these sketches seen from behind explore a number of actions that are part of the digging.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
life drawing

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

drawing (image-making)
earthmoving shovels
life drawings

5 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Work and Workers
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Rural Realism 
(Part of: HISTART 271: Origins Of Modernism: Art And Culture In Nineteenth Century France)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted