The Oak and the Reed, 1883
The oak boasts that its strength will withstand the storm. When the wind blows, it is uprooted. The reed bends and survives.
La Fontaine’s parable about pride and humility and how to survive in turbulent times prompted Moreau to create a drama in which the landscape is dominant. A carriage has overturned. Rearing horses and dead bodies are visible beneath the stricken oak tree. A man and his dog find shelter among the unbroken reeds.