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The Sower. Jean-Franois Millet. . .
The Sower. Jean-Franois Millet. 1850. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Jean-Franois Millet (October 4, 1814January 20, 1875) was a painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. He is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers.

Born in the village of Gruchy, in La Hague in Normandy, Millet moved to Paris in 1838. He received his academic schooling with Paul Dumouchel, and with Jrome Langlois in Cherbourg. After 1840 he turned away from the official painting style and came under the influence of Honor Daumier. In 1849 he withdrew to Barbizon to apply himself to painting many, often poetic, peasant scenes.

His work, such as The Gleaners (1848), depicting the poorest of peasant women stooping in the fields to glean the leftovers from the harvested field, is a powerful and timeless statement about the working class. (The Gleaners is on display in Paris's Muse d'Orsay). His Angelus was widely reproduced in prints in the 19th century.

Fascinated with his work, Salvador Dal wrote the book, The Tragic Myth of Millet's "Angelus", analysing Millet's work. Dal included variations of Angelus in many of his own paintings.

Millet's work influenced later painters such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Camille Pissarro.

He died in Barbizon. His native house can be visited in La Hague.

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