The Gleaners

April 30, 2015

THE GLEANERS is a renowned painting by Jean-Francois Millet, finished in 1857.


It was controversial in France for its depiction of the lowest classes of society, picking from the fields what little was left after harvest.  Prior to this, paintings of people were usually paintings of people who were rich enough to have their portraits done.

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE GLEANERS, as we know.  And each of us, in our own way, were often taught by our parents to make good use of every last bit of something, including the meal(s) in front of us.

The Gleaners a

IN THE ANIMAL WORLD, Ravens are gleaners supreme, going after what little remains of just about anything left behind, tossed aside, or just there for the taking.  Yesterday I encountered one in the parking lot of our local Mall, hopping about a garbage can with a broken wing, waiting for someone to provide some slim pickings.  Its noble bearing and size–the gloss of its plumage, the inherent dignity–only added to the poignancy of its situation.  And yet, it wasn’t exhibiting signs of pain or discomfort, just a keen willingness to take what it could get and survive.  And glean.

4 Responses to “The Gleaners”

  1. In Austin (Texas), the dark birds commonly seen scavenging for food in supermarket parking lots are grackles. I see them much more often in areas inhabited by people than I see them in purely natural surroundings, so the birds seem to have changed their ancestral habits to take advantage of the changing situation. That said, they continue to roost in trees at night, even if those trees are in parking lots or alongside busy highways.


  2. oh rebecca, I am going to search that lead out! thank you always for your gracious words.


  3. Rebecca said

    I really like this picture of yours, great composition and also the restricted pallette is dramatic.
    Corvids are amazing. I don’t know if you can watch BBC iPlayer where you are, but if you can, check out Chris Packham’s episode of Inside the Animal Mind: The Problem Solvers. I was blown away by it.

    Liked by 1 person

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