One of the earliest paintings by the Dutch master paints to us the difficult conditions of life and residence of the poor peasantry. It is known that Vincent was extremely lacking in artistic education, which is why the artist suffered a lot and constantly. Trying to master the elementary techniques of painting independently, the master (then still an amateur) faced incredible difficulties.
He was in no way “given” to people; he portrayed an ordinary human figure with great burdens, intolerable bitterness. And this is quite often seen in his works – people come out quite static, in particular, in this picture. However, despite the static, you can easily see what the unfortunate peasants are doing, living somewhere on the outskirts of the city, behind the rich and elite mansions, in slums, in wooden cold and dark sheds. These are the simple actions of the working people: cleaning, washing, hanging linen, plowing (the figure in the distance to the right) and many others. All these works show a close relationship with the earth, female figures look strong and confident.
And this is not surprising, because the land is their bread, they are happy that they have small lots for agricultural work and simple (although in fact not at all simple) household works. And for them the “backyard” living conditions depicted in the picture are not terrible for residents and owners of fashionable dwellings that may seem unbearable. The canvas is completely devoid of any fictional or abstract images, it is whole and realistic. The structure, coupled with the color gamut, is harmonious and only emphasizes the realities of the peasant backyards. Van Gogh respected the poor as people, as a class and appreciated their work, and this picture, monumental, despite the size and monotony of the plot,