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Jean Franois Millet
Jean Franois Millet
Jean Franois Millet
(1814-1875)
French painter

Jean François MILLET

Jean-François Millet, son of Normandy farmers, began studying painting in Cherbourg. In 1838, with the aid of a bursary, he moved to Paris and became briefly, a pupil of P. Delaroche, but soon decided that he preferred to work alone. He made frequent visits to the Louvre Museum , where he was particularly influenced by Michelangelo, Poussin and Rubens. In order to earn a living he painted shop signs and numerous portraits.
In the 1840s, Millet spent most of his time in Cherbourg, and, after the death of his first wife in 1844, spent a year in Le Havre where he exhibited with some success.

In 1849, he was persuaded by Charles-Emile Jacque to settle with his new family in Barbizon and discovered the green landscapes of this region where Rousseau and Diaz were already living. Unlike the other Barbizon painters he was principally inspired by the occupations rather than the scenery of rural life: the daily toil of the peasants became his preferred subject (Le Semeur, 1850; Les Glaneuses, 1857; the Angelus, 1858).

After about 1860 Millet, influenced by Rousseau, began to place more emphasis on landscape in his paintings, and also began to work more in watercolour and pastel. His fame grew, commissions and honours flooded in, and his success continued to the end of his life.

He died in Barbizon in 1875 and was buried in the cemetery at Chailly near the tomb of his friend and colleague Rousseau.


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