Jean-François Millet (October 4, 1814 - January 20, 1875) was a painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. He is noted especially for his scenes of peasant farmers.
Millet was born in the village of Gruchy, in La Hague in Normandy and moved to Paris in 1838. He received his academic schooling with Paul Dumouchel, and with Jérome Langlois in Cherbourg. After 1840 he turned away from the official fashion style and came under the influence of Honoré Daumier. In 1849 he withdraw to Barbizon to apply himself to painting many often poetic peasant scenes.
His work, such as The Gleaners (1848), depicting the poorest of peasant women stooping in the fields to glean the leftovers from the harvested field, is a powerful and timeless statement about the working class that resonates to this day. (The Gleaners is on display in Paris's Musée d'Orsay).
His Angelus was widely reproduced in prints in the 19th century. Salvador Dalí was particularly fascinated by this work, wrote an entire book analysing it (The Tragic Myth of Millet's Angelus), and included variations of this Millet work in many of his own paintings.
Millet is considered an influence on later painters such as Claude Monet, Van Gogh and Camille Pissarro.
He died in Barbizon. His Native house can be visited in La Hague.