Our Art / Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet

Born to a family of peasants, Millet (1814–1875) discovered the opportunity to study art at eighteen. After ten years of mixed success while supporting himself by painting portraits, his artwork was selected by the Paris Salon’s jury and the first of his paintings of peasants to sell. Millet portrayed the gravity, hardship, and dignity of common laborers in the field. Millet's humanity toward peasant life deeply impressed many painters, including Vincent Van Gogh. In 1849 he chose to live in the remote forests of Fontainebleu, France, where he lived for the rest of his life mostly in grim poverty.

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