Poetry Guide: Idyll
An idyll or idyl (from Greek eidyllion, little picture) is a short poem, descriptive of rustic life, written in the style of Theocritus's short pastoral poems, the Idylls. Later imitators included the Roman poets Virgil and Catullus, and the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
An idyll can also be a kind of painting, usually representing a pastor and his animals in a rural setting. They are depicted in a natural way, with the three components - man, animal and the environment - in a harmonious unity, preventing the picture from being either a landscape, or a genre, or just an image of an animal. Nature in this combination is presented in an unsophisticated, realistic fashion.
The subjects of such pictures are usually simple people living in uncivilised conditions, featuring naïvety in their thinking and yet leading a happy and cheerful life. The approach to the presentation is not humorous, but emotional, sometimes sentimental.