(b. 1823, Bruxelles, d. 1906, Paris)

What Is Known as Vagrancy

Oil on canvas, 132 x 162 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

This painting depicts a pitiful scene in a wintry, bleak townscape. A despondent young woman and her two children are being led away by three armed soldiers on charges of vagrancy.. Witnessing the arrest are an elegantly dresses, unashamedly curious woman and a workman, who simply turns away in embarrassment.

In the 1860s, Stevens began to enjoy great success as a painter in elegant society and began to distance himself more and more from potentially controversial socio-critical subjects of this nature.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.