Jean-François Millet: Drawn into the Light
By Alexandra Murphy, Richard Rand, Brian T. Allen, James Ganz, and Alexis Goodin
Few artists of the nineteenth century created works as subtly evocative, as socially poignant, and as artistically influential as Jean-François Millet. This book examines Millet’s technical and creative achievement, focusing on his rarely seen pastels, watercolors, and drawings, considering them as independent works of art, as procedural steps toward paintings, and as important elements in his finished pictures.
The authors explore the ways that Millet reinvented his art and reshaped the course of nineteenth-century painting in the process. Through his shift away from idealized nudes of the academic tradition to nudes in a real world, his confrontation with the physical landscape of work, and his perception of light and weather conditions that altered the landscape, Millet’s pastels, watercolors, and drawings had a profound impact on his artistic contemporaries. Counted among his particular admirers were Degas, Seurat, Pissarro, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, who described an exhibition of Millet’s pastels as “holy ground.” In this context, the authors discuss Millet’s most famous painting, The Gleaners, which not only represents a technical and aesthetic achievement but also serves as an essential symbol of the political causes of the time: Millet’s peasants have held their place in social history because they are so beautifully drawn that their gestures speak across decades, nations, and cultures.
This book is the catalogue for an exhibition that opened at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in June 1999, and traveled to the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
152 pages, 9 x 11 inches
85 color and 14 black-and-white illustrations
Published in association with Yale University Press
ISBN 0-300-07925-7 (hardcover)
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