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Artists Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet

French Painter

Jean-François Millet Photo
Movements and Styles: Realism, The Barbizon School, Naturalism

Born: October 4, 1814 - Gruchy, in Gréville-Hague (Normandy)

Died: January 20, 1875 - Barbizon, France

"A peasant I was born, a peasant I will die."

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French painter Jean-François Millet, whose humble manner of living stands in stark contrast to the impact his work had on many artists who succeeded him, saw Godliness and virtue in physical labor. Best known for his paintings of peasants toiling in rural landscapes, and the religious sub-texts that often accompanied them, he turned his back on the academic style of his early artistic education and co-founded the Barbizon school near Fontainbleau in Normandy, France with fellow artist Théodore Rousseau.

Millet saw his share of successes and failures with both critics and the public. People were deeply class-conscious amid France's politically volatile climate and perceived with suspicion anyone celebrating the 'nobility' of the peasant-class. Nevertheless, his personal convictions, use of Naturalism, and unromanticized imagery helped lay a foundation for later modern movements in art, and in due course, he became highly-regarded within the art world. Consequently, his practice impacted markedly the methods of many later painters, photographers, and writers who saw Millet as an inspiration, mentor, and friend.

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