Jean-François Millet

1814 - 1875

Millet was born at Grouchy (Manche) and was a pupil of Paul Delaroche in Paris by 1837. For some years he painted chiefly idylls in imitation of 18th-century French painters. Becoming, like Honoré Daumier, increasingly moved by the spectacle of social injustice, Millet turned to peasant subjects and won his first popular success at the Salon of 1848 with 'The Winnower'. From the following year he was chiefly active at Barbizon and associated with the Barbizon school of landscape painters.

Portrait of Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet, ‘Self Portrait’, Musée du Louvre, Paris (fonds Orsay)
© RMN, Paris (Musée d'Orsay) / Michèle Bellot 

His work was influenced by Dutch paintings of the 17th century and by the work of Jean-Siméon Chardin, and was influential in Holland on Jozef Israëls and on the early style of Vincent Van Gogh.