Peasant Grafting a Tree

by Jean-Francois Millet (1885)

Millet had long prepared and studied a subject inspired by Virgil, his favorite poet. It was a simple scene — a peasant grafting a tree in his garden, near his wife and child. Himself a man with a family, he thought of the future of his children, of the father who works for his successors.

Grafting is the process of joining two plants, one selected for its strong roots with one selected for its fruit. This is accomplished by transplanting living tissue from the branch into the root. 

Romans 11:16-22

If the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

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