Millet, Jean François

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Millet or Milé, Jean François

(both: zhäN fräNswä` mēlā`), c.1642–1679, French landscape painter, known as Francisque, b. Antwerp. The Arcadian and imaginary Italian landscapes that are attributed to him (e.g., The Storm; National Gall., London) are painted in the manner of Gaspard PoussinPoussin, Gaspard
, 1615–75, French landscape painter, b. Rome. The son of a Frenchman named Dughet, he adopted the name of his brother-in-law, Nicolas Poussin, in whose studio he worked and whose influence is visible in his interpretations of the Italian countryside.
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 and may be seen in numerous European galleries. His son, Jean François Millet, 1666–1732, was also a landscape painter.

Millet, Jean François,

1814–75, French painter. He was born into a poor farming family. In 1837 an award enabled him to go to Paris, where he studied with DelarocheDelaroche, Hippolyte
, 1797–1856, French historical and portrait painter, known as Paul Delaroche. He studied with Gros. The exhibition of his large Joas Saved by Josabeth in 1822 brought him a popularity that continued throughout his life.
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. In 1849 he settled in Barbizon, where he executed such celebrated works as the Gleaners (1857) and the Angelus (1859), both now in the Louvre, and The Man with a Hoe (1860–62), in the Getty Center, Los Angeles. He was associated with members of the Barbizon schoolBarbizon school
, an informal school of French landscape painting that flourished c.1830–1870. Its name derives from the village of Barbizon, a favorite residence of the painters associated with the school.
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 by proximity and friendship rather than by stylistic approach or treatment of subject. As a painter of melancholy scenes of peasant labor, he has been considered a social realist. Millet's paintings are noted for their power and simplicity of drawing. His work is well represented in American museums, notably in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


See M. H. Langlois, The Art and Life of Jean-François Millet (1980).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Millet, Jean François


Born Oct. 4, 1814, in Gruchy, near Gréville, in Normandy; died Jan. 20, 1875, in Barbizon, near Paris. French painter and graphic artist.

Millet, the son of a peasant, studied painting in Paris under P. Delaroche in 1837 and 1838. In the late 1830’s and the 1840’s he painted portraits in an eclectic style, court scenes reminiscent of F. Boucher, and compositions on mythological subjects. Having become associated with such masters of the Barbizon school as N. V. Diaz, Millet began painting scenes from peasant life. With a profoundly sympathetic approach to the subject, Millet realistically depicted the difficult working conditions of the peas-ants and poetically expressed the indissoluble bond between man and nature (The Gleaners, 1857; The Angelas, 1859; The Peasant Leaning on His Hoe, 1863—all in the Louvre, Paris).

The peasants and landscapes depicted in Millet’s paintings are imbued with grandeur, austere simplicity, and a meditative sadness. The artist’s works of the 1850’s and 1860’s are marked by clear composition; forms are accentuated by means of various compositional devices (low horizon, large figures). These works are also characterized by subtle value relationships and somewhat heavy earthen colors. A number of them are undoubtedly expressions of social criticism, as was pointed out by the leading critics of Millet’s day. At the same time, these works often seem to justify a traditional way of life. From the mid-1850’s, Millet did many etchings and pastels.


Zamiatina, A. N. Millet. Moscow, 1959.
Moreau-Nelaton, E. J.-F. Millet raconté par lui-même, vols. 1–3. Paris, 1923.
Gay, P. J.-F. Millet. Paris, 1951.
Lepoittevin, L. Jean-Francois Milletportraitiste: Essai et catalogue. Paris [1971].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.