collection
Oil painting: 125,5 cm x 177,5 cm
1886-D

Apart from symbolist works, Léon Frédéric mainly painted realistic scenes of the lives of simple people such as labourers, the homeless and farmers. He felt compassion for their misery but was also very moved by the deep religiosity of the old people who lived in rural areas. In its content, The Funeral Meal is related to a series of four paintings entitled The Farmer at Different Ages, in which the artist studies the physiognomy of farmers. What strikes us here is the pale face of the old woman seated at the head of the long table; it is very crudely depicted with very little detail. The artist was probably indicating how close to death she was. The man with the folded hands in the left foreground reminds us of the donors we see in 15th-century altar pieces. The spiritual atmosphere is heightened by the light shining through the trees and illuminating the farmers’ faces.