Lhermitte's subject matter rarely deviated from the peasants and rural life of his youth. The most profound influence upon his work was certainly Jean François Millet who, like Lhermitte, was equally adept with pastel as with oil. While one could not characterize Lhermitte as an innovator, it is fair to say that he remained true to his own artistic conscience, creating beautiful, light-filled works in the Barbizon tradition, reinforcing the dignity of peasant life and the glory of the French rural landscape in the face of encroaching technology. He has been accused of simply marrying traditional academic practices to the brighter colors of the Impressionists for the sake of his considerable commercial success. This criticism is probably unjust, he was a talented artist, much admired by his peers. Van Gogh wrote 'He [Lhermitte] is the absolute master of the figure, he does what he likes with it - proceeding neither from the color nor the local tone but rather from the light - as Rembrandt did- there is an astonishing mastery in everything he does, above all excelling in modeling, he perfectly satisfies all that honesty demands'.