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Key facts
Full title The Church at Arbonne
Artist François Millet
Artist dates about 1851 - 1917
Date made 1870-80
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 36.8 x 44.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Sir Victor Wellesley, 1954
Inventory number NG6253
Location Not on display
The Church at Arbonne
François Millet

The building in this painting has been identified as the Norman church at Arbonne (now Arbonne-le-forêt), a village to the southwest of Barbizon. The village of Barbizon, around 40 miles south of Paris, and the neighbouring forest of Fontainebleau were popular locations for artists, including Jean-François Millet, Corot and several of the Impressionists, from around 1830 to 1870.

Although a preliminary drawing by Jean-François Millet of the view has survived, it is likely that this picture was painted by his son, François Millet. A pupil of his father, François often reproduced his father’s subject matter, such as the pastoral scene with a farm worker wearing a peasant’s traditional blue clothing that we see here. The signature and a written paper fragment on the back of the picture confirms this attribution. X-radiography has revealed another picture underneath, possibly a vertical landscape. This was probably painted by the same artist, who turned the canvas 90 degrees clockwise to create a horizontal format.

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