The Miller, his Son and the Donkey: Honore Daumier

Honore Daumier: The Miller, his Son and the Donkey

The Miller, his Son and the Donkey is an 1849 painting by Honore Daumier which illustrates a moment in an ancient fable. The father rides upon the donkey in the background, leaving his son to walk. The women of the foreground, if we read Daumier’s intention to stay faithful to the fable, are in uproar that the man rides while his son is left to walk. However, the fable says if the son rides and the father walks they will be criticised for neglect of the elder; if they both ride they will be criticised for cruelty to the donkey; and if they both walk they are mocked for not riding.

Titled Der Müller, sein Sohn und der Esel in Daumier’s native Geran, this is an illustration that people are never satisfied.

Honore Daumier’s The Miller, his Son and the Donkey is at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland

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