Nov 072007
Jean-Francois Millet: The Gleaners

The Gleaners stands out as one of Millet’s most familiar and iconic images: the highlight of his self-assigned mission to represent the minutiae and hardship of contemporary French peasant life. In many ways, it’s a triumph of that particular trend of the bucolic genre, which the artist himself largely plotted. Gleaning, which remains very much […]

Nov 012007
Jean-Francois Millet: The Wood Sawyers

In The Wood Sawyers Jean-Francois Millet departs from the static melancholy of his open landscape pieces, such as The Angelus and the Shepherdess with Her Flock, and focuses on a loud, inherently agile activity confined to a seemingly enclosed, vaguely defined, almost abstract space. This is a very dynamic scene: the bodies of the workers […]

Oct 302007
Jean-Francois Millet: Feeding the Young

Jean Francois Millet became a champion of the poor, disadvantaged peasant class by portraying farm workers performing everyday tasks. While he established himself as a proponent of realism — a movement that was in many ways the opposite of grand romanticism of the first half of the 19th century — he nevertheless romanticized his models, […]

Oct 272007
Jean-Francois Millet: Shepherdess with Her Flock

“Shepherdess with Her Flock” demonstrates a compositional blueprint almost identical to that of the Angelus: a similar division of the canvas, where vast plain and skies occupy most of the foreground and background, protagonists at the front, a centralized vanishing point. The theme of a solitary working peasant reoccurs also in the Knitter (see image […]

Oct 242007
Jean-Francois Millet: Angelus

Idolized and emulated by Vincent van Gogh, Jean-Francois Millet was a realist who mainly portrayed peasant life,  inspecting it with a compassionate eye, and rendering his humble models as the heroes of their environment. Therein, of course, lies the problem for Millet’s critics: his scenes may often appear too endearing and idealized, bordering on sentimental. […]