Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This oil sketch is a study for a large painting of 1873 which now hangs in the entrance hall of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Like this work, the painting is also known as The Harvest, but it is not intended to be viewed as an image of rural life, rather it is an evocation of a golden age.

There are many differences between this quickly worked sketch and the final painting as the artist sought to find the most harmonious combination of figures, landscape and colours. When Puvis de Chavannes started work on the composition, France was just emerging from a period of political and military turmoil but the picture offers instead an idyll of peace, harmony and plenty. The world the artist has conjured into being is a timeless dream realm, part biblical and part classical.

The National Gallery, London





before 1873


Oil on canvas


H 43.2 x W 62.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by Arthur Haythorne Studd, 1919

Work type



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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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