A detailed look at his paintings of the rural poor which led up to Naturalism, and how he used a compositional formula so successfully.
Little-known now, and only for his paintings of harvesters and gleaners, in his day he was at the leading edge of the Naturalist revolution, painting scientists.
Exposure to colour was, for centuries, determined by class. The poor lived in largely drab worlds, but the rich surrounded themselves with vivid hues. This all changed in the late 19th century and the 20th.
There’s two ways to paint a coastal cliff: from the beach, or on the top. Surprisingly few landscape painters have opted for the latter. Here are some examples.
How to tell Breton from Millet, and trying to settle the question as to which was the greater artist.
Some extraordinary paintings exploring transient and unusual effects of light, culminating in a retrospective, and his most radical work of all.
As the social message in his paintings faded, so they became brighter, and more appealing. Then he painted Ceres and dandelions…
Two of his most famous paintings were made in this period: The Gleaners, and The Angelus. Initial reaction was hostile, and neither became popular until after his death.
His style avoided sentimentality, showing life on the land as it really was. His paintings were faithful expression of what country life was really like for the poor.
Initially a portrait and history painter, he co-founded the Barbizon School in the late 1840s, turning to evocative scenes of poor country people.