Jean-François Millet - The Bouquet of Margueritas (1866)
Jean-François Millet - Cooper Tightening Staves on a Barrel (ca. 184/52)
I would like to devote today's December Double to the beautiful work of Jean-Francois Millet, known for his many wonderful paintings of pasture life and perhaps the most popular figure from the French Barbizon School. Both 'Bouquet of Margueritas' and 'Cooper Tightening Staves on a Barrel' transform otherwise mundane subject matter into brilliant, evocative scenes. Millet's characteristically soft brushwork and gentle use of light are exemplified in these two works.
In 'Bouquet' I love the woman's warm expression, cast in shadow while peering out at us from behind the flowers. The sowing materials on the windowsill provide an excellent detail as well.
'Cooper' appeals to me for it's quiet, intimate observation of its scene, and Millet's uses his rustic palette and soft lighting to transform the worker's manual task into a romantic, serene experience for the viewer.