Nineteenth-Century European Art - 3 of 7

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The Knitting Lesson by Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet
French, 1796-1875
The Knitting Lesson
c. 1860
Oil on panel
41.5 x 31.9 cm
Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1945

Educated at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Millet lived most of his life in rural Barbizon. There he found in the routines and rituals of peasant life the subjects that would occupy him throughout his career. This intimate scene of a mother teaching her young daughter to knit reflects the influence of Dutch genre painting, although Millet's approach is unstinting in its honesty and self-effacement.