Troyon?s atmospheric use of light is evocative of the early evening in summer. The long shadows cast by the animals and figures show that the sun is low in the sky. Two men approach each other, one accompanied by his black dog, the other by two oxen which he is driving home after a day?s ploughing. The oxen have been turning over the fields in preparation for the sowing of next year?s crop. The light reflecting on the track-worn path and the shadows indicating the time of day are reminiscent of paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael and Jan van Kessel, which Troyon could have seen during his visit to Holland in 1847.