Jean François Millet French Painter 1814-1875

Jean François Millet
French Painter 1814-1875

"One must be able to use the trivial to express the sublime-that is true power!"-Jean Francois Millet

Jean Francois Millet was a French painter, etcher and draughtsman associated with the Barbizon school, his later works were criticized for expressing socialist ideas. Millet was noted for his depictions of peasant life. Jean Francois Millet can be categorized as part of the naturalism and realism movements.

Jean Francois Millet was born on a farm near Cherbourg and never forgot that he had spent his boyhood working in his father's fields. He showed an early talent for drawing and was sent to study with a painter in Cherbourg when he he was 20 years of age. In 1837 he received a scholarship to study in Paris, where he became a pupil in the studio of Paul Delaroche. The inflexible training Jean Francois Millet received was too much for his temperament and he gave up formal study to work alone in the Louvre, where he admired the works of Mantegna, da Vinci, Giorgione, and Poussin.

For some years, Millet supported himself by painting portraits, pastoral subjects, and decorative panels. Fighting against great odds, and suffering a long period of extreme hardship, Millet exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1840, and married two years later. During this period his main influences were Poussin and Eustache Le Sueur, and the type of work he produced consisted predominantly of mythological subjects or portraiture, at which he was especially adept. Jean Francois Millet became a member of the French Academy in 1847. In the following year, however, Jean Francois Millet discovered that his real vocation as an artist lay in painting the land that he could never abandon.
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