Collection: Jean-Francois Millet

Jean-Francois Millet- From French countryside to French Art

Introduction

Known as a French artist and the co-founder of the Barbizon School in France, Jean-Francois Millet was a leader of the Realism Art Movement. In fact, Jean-Francois Millet is still known for his realistic paintings around ordinary subjects like farmers and rural life. Some of his famous paintings depict the peasant life of Rural France.

His oil paintings have garnered a reputation of their own. While in his early career, Jean-Francois Millet painted humans and live subjects. In his later career, Millet shifted to landscape paintings.

Early Life

Born in the village of Gruchy, Normandy, on October 4, 1814, Jean-Francois Millet was the son of a farmer’s couple. His early education was supervised under the able guidance of two village priests who taught him about Latin and modern literature. As a child, he helped his farmer-parents in farming activities and lived the farmers’ life.

The influence of peasant life and rural landscapes on his later art pieces comes from his childhood experiences. In 1826, Jean-Francois Millet was sent to Cherbourg to study art under a painter Bon du Mouchel. By 1835, he had become a skilled painter.

In 1837, Millet moved to Paris to study art at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts under a scholarship. However, his first art submission to the Salon Saint Anne Instructing the Virgin was rejected in 1839.

Famous Art Work

Millet’s first portrait was accepted at the Salon in 1840, and he started his career as a portrait painter. One of his famous works is the Sheepfold. Another one of his many artworks is Woman baking bread, painted in 1854.

The influence of rural farm life was heavy on Millet’s work, and he went on to paint Harvesters Resting in the early 1850s. He painted the Gleaners in 1857. The painter created The Angelus in the late 1850s, around 1859.

Final Years and Death

In the 1860s, Millet grew in fame as a painter. He painted the Hunting Birds at Night, in his later career, in 1874. The 1870s saw Millet as a part of the Salon Jury. However, in January 1875, Millet died of failing health. His painting The Angelus has been reproduced and analyzed many times throughout art history, and his legacy continues to live on in his paintings.

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  • The Angelus, 1857-59

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    The Angelus, 1857-59
  • The Gleaners, 1857

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    The Gleaners, 1857
  • Angelus (Angelus Domini)

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    Angelus (Angelus Domini)