Leeds Art Gallery

Return to collection

The Sower

Millet, Jean-Francois (1814-75), Not known, Lithograph 19.1 x 16.1

<p align="JUSTIFY"><span lang="EN-AU">A French painter and graphic artist, born into a peasant family who lived near Cherbourg in Normandy, Millet studied art locally before moving to Paris in 1837. His early works were mainly genre paintings and mythological scenes but after <i>The Winnower</i>, a peasant subject, was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1848, Millet turned away from idealized rustic scenes and began to depict the hard toil of those who worked in the countryside. When <i>The Sower</i> was exhibited at the Salon of 1850 it produced some hostility and Millet was accused of Socialism. Millet rejected this accusation, saying his aim was ‘to make the trivial express the sublime’. [Concise Ox. Dict. Of Art and Artists] In 1849 Millet moved to Barbizon, a small village near the Forest of Fontainebleau, where he lived in poverty and continued to paint scenes of peasant life and landscapes. This lithograph was bought by the LACF in 1914.</span>