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Jean-François Millet, Woman and Child in a Landscape

Key facts
Full title Woman and Child in a Landscape
Artist Jean-François Millet
Artist dates 1814 - 1875
Date made 1846-7
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 45.7 × 38.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2636
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Woman and Child in a Landscape
Jean-François Millet

A woman sits on a rocky ledge, her head turned toward a young naked child presented in the guise of a putto or cupid. He is trying to attract her attention. This painting is an early example of the rural subject matter that Millet began to explore in around 1845, and which by 1847 formed a substantial portion of his output. He was still looking to such eighteenth-century artists as Watteau and Boucher, yet at the same time both the majesty of the woman’s profile and her position on the bank can be linked with Michelangelo, particularly his figures in the Sistine Chapel.

Throughout the picture Millet has used a red-brown paint to underpaint the shadowed areas, and has left it visible, for example in the deep fold of the skirt between the woman’s legs. He has overlaid this layer with thick paint.

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