Going to Work
By Jean Francois Millet


Going to Work
By Jean Francois Millet (1814-1875)
In the Glasgow Art Gallery

Looking at Millet's pictures, one is reminded always that they owe their strong appeal to no excellence of technique or colouring, but solely to the powerful human interest which they excite. Millet's early life and environment made this as natural as the expression of his individual genius, which brought him success as soon as he realised his peculiar gifts and laboured to give them expression.

He was the son of a peasant farmer, and life held no prospect for him other than the usual work on the soil. From his fourteenth to his eighteenth year he worked in the fields, but even then his genius asserted itself, and he made drawings with charcoal upon a white patch of wall. So admirable were they that even the peasant family was impressed, and instruction of a kind was arranged for him. Later, a subsidy from the Municipality of Cherbourg enabled him to go to Paris to study in Delaroche's studio. Academic painting was not in his line, and he gained no reputation there. He left the studio to paint for a living, and eked out a precarious existence by producing "popular" paintings which he could not infuse with his own peculiar genius. In 1848 he painted "The Winnower," and the year following, at the age of 35, he went to Barbizon (with which his best work is associated) and made up his mind to follow the dictates of his own artistic soul alone. Success came to him with that determination, though his pictures never received the adequate monetary recognition which came to them after his death in the shape of greatly enhanced values.

His painting is often laborious and crude, but his masterpieces never fail of that touch of poetry which places them on the highest plane of Art.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Online "Name the Painting"









Jean-Francois Millet
at the ArtChive

Millet Biography
at the Web Museum, Paris

Jean-Francois Millet
at Wikipedia

Millet Links
at ArtCyclopedia

The Sower
at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Jean-Francois Millet
pronunciation

Jean-Francois Millet
online book

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