The Evolution of Criticism on Jean-Francois Millet

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Title: The Evolution of Criticism on Jean-Francois Millet
Author: Amley, Hollis Marie
Advisors: Keith Luria, Committee Chair
Abstract: The nineteenth-century French painter Jean-François Millet's social context, compositional style, and rustic subject matter invite a wide variety of interpretations of his art. To his biographer and contemporary Alfred Sensier, the rustic canvases were the work of a stoic 'peasant painter,' removed from the political controversies of his day. To the Marxist art historian T. J. Clark, on the other hand, Millet's paintings interacted with and challenged the dominant values and institutions of the Second Republic. To the social art historian Robert Herbert, the paintings reveal the artist's response to urban-industrial change and his Parisian exodus. In presenting these three formative readings of Millet's canvases, this thesis demonstrates how each particular writer's vantage point in history affected both his methodology and vision of the artist's identity. The criticism on Millet shows not merely a series of antithetical, isolated opinions, but a kind of evolution, one that has gradually come to include both the artist and the society in which he worked.
Date: 2005-06-28
Degree: MA
Discipline: History

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