In The Grandmother, Léon Lhermitte brought together the youth and the old age of a country person in a single scene. The old woman is sitting on a church pew staring dejectedly into space, a book of prayers open on her lap. She has been marked by life, as the deep wrinkles in her face show. The approaching end of her life contrasts with the youth of the kneeling girl on whose rosy cheeks life has not yet left its mark. Lhermittes approach shows him to have been an adept follower of Naturalism, which was popular at the time. The scene is rendered in the finest detail and the painter observes it without displaying any empathy with his subject. He found the theme in a scene in the village church at Mont-Saint-Père in Picardy.