I first saw this painting (or another version of it)--“Le Parc a moutons, clair de lune” --in a side gallery off the main foyer in the Musee D'Orsay. It is a small, dark painting of a farmer guiding his sheep through a wooden gate, under the moonlight. I always imagine the muffled shuffling of the animals, with their obedient snorts and earthy smells. “Shh, shh,” the farmer seems to urge them, “Here come this way.” The night air steams their musky breaths; their hooves thump on the beaten mud path.
You can barely make out the hunched over shepherd and his flock. The moonlight whispers over their woolly backs and is swallowed by the dirt below.