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

Jean-Francois Millet

Famous Paintings in this Series

M. Bompard

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The Madonna and Child

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King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid

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The Mill

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Flatford Mill

John Crome

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Pascal Adolphe Jean

The Blessed Bread

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Jean Baptiste Greuze

The Listening Girl

Sir James Guthrie

A Highland Funeral

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In His Hand

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The Ambassadors

Henry Holiday

Dante and Beatrice

Sir Edwin Landseer


Sir Edwin Landseer

A Naughty Child

H.H. La Thangue

Mowing Bracken

Sir Thomas Lawrence

Caroline of Brunswick,
Queen of George IV.

G.D. Leslie

Sun and Moon Flowers

J. Seymour Lucas


Jean Louis Ernest

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Jean Francois Millet

The Angelus

Jean Francois Millet

Going to Work

Sir William Quiller

The Farmer's Daughter

Ralph Peacock



His Own Portrait

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Infant Samuel

Sir Joshua Reynolds

The Strawberry Girl

George Romney

The Parson's Daughter

W. Dendy Sadler

A Good Story

W. Dendy Sadler


William Small

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J.M.W. Turner

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J.M.W. Turner

Rain Steam and Speed
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Portrait of a Spanish Lady
"La Femme a L'Eventail"

Frederick Walker

The Vagrants

George Frederick Watts


James McNeill Whistler

My Mother

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A Fisherman

Index Page
Famous Paintings