One idea at the core of nineteenth century painting is known as the Theory of Sacrifices. A poetic quality, it was believed, comes from the sacrifice of needless detail.
As one writer put it: “Nature instills sentiments in the spectator through the selective sacrifice of details in order to improve the overall effect.”
Jules Breton said: “Painters without experience often weaken the effect they wish to produce by a prodigality which multiplies uselessly the figures and accessories of a picture. It will not be long before they learn that, the greater the conciseness and simplicity with which a thought is interpreted, the more it gains in expressive force.”
Image: "Song of the Lark" by Jules Breton.