Thursday 29 Aug 2013, 10:15 AM – 11:45 AM

Jean-François Millet settled in Barbizon after the French Revolution of 1848 and until his death in 1875 devoted himself to painting and drawing rural life. The peasant household’s routines of spinning, caring for livestock, harvesting, and so on are captured in images which resonate with respect for rural toil. Some of his paintings - such as The Angelus - are among the most reproduced paintings of all time. But who was Millet? And did he simply detail the rural world he saw around him, as he claimed, or did he rather construct an imaginary world?

PETER MCPHEE is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He has written widely on the history of modern France, most recently Robespierre: a Revolutionary Life (Yale University Press, 2012).

Jean-François Millet (1814-1875), The Angelus (L’Angelus) (1857 1859), collection of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

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