Jean Francois Millet

Alternative Name(s): -
Date of Birth: October 4, 1814
Place of Birth: Gruchy, Greville-Hague, Normandy, France
Date of Death: January 20, 1875
Focus: Painter
Art movement: Realism, Barbizon School
Nationality: French

Famous Jean Francois Millet Artwork

Jean Francois Millet Biography

Jean Francois Millet was born on October 4, 1814 in the Normandy region of France. He began studying art in Cherbourg at the age of eighteen under the guidance of the painter Paul Dumouchel. Millet moved to Paris in 1837 and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under the guidance of Paul Delaroche. After finishing his studies, Millet began working as a portrait painter. Millet fathered nine children with Catherine Lemaire and they were married in a ceremony in 1853 in Le Havre shortly before Millet moved back to Paris.

In Paris, Millet was introduced to many of the artists who would form the Barbizon school, such as Narcisse Diaz, Charles Jacque and Constant Troyon. Millet began seeing great success near then end of the 1840s, when his painting Oedipus Taken down from the Tree was displayed at the famous Salon. His painting The Winnower was then purchased by the French government in 1848. The government then commissioned Millet’s painting Harvesters, which was completed in 1849. Millet also moved to Barbizon later that year, along with his wife and children.

During the next few decades, Millet continued to produce ambitious and popular works, often depicting peasant life in a very realistic manner. Some of Millet’s better known works from this time period include The Gleaners and The Angelus. Millet’s work became widely recognized and acclaimed during this time period, and many patrons commissioned Millet to work on his paintings through generous financial support. The legacy of Millet influenced such later artists as Vincent Van Gogh, Georges Seurat and Claude Monet. Millet’s work continued to gain recognition until his death on January 20, 1875.