French artist Jules Breton (1827 – 1906) painted rustic rural scenes often focusing on peasant life, each imbued with deep sensitivity and compassion. Believing that the purpose of art was to express the beautiful, Breton idealized peasants and their lives in works that possessed a stunning simplicity. A period of financial hardship after his father passed away strengthened Breton’s empathetic peasant works. He also used his artwork to comment on social and economic issues plaguing the lower classes of Paris. Breton often exhibited at Paris’ esteemed Salon, and was the author of two autobiographies.