The ShepherdessArtist(s)Jean-François MilletObject Creation Datecirca 1857Medium & Supportblack chalk on off-white wove paperDimensions
12 1/16 in x 15 1/8 in (30.64 cm x 38.42 cm);19 3/16 in x 23 7/8 in (48.74 cm x 60.64 cm);21 1/4 in x 24 9/16 in (53.98 cm x 62.39 cm)Credit LineBequest of Margaret Watson ParkerLabel copy
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1955/1.106
After studying in Paris, Millet traveled to Barbizon in 1849. There in the Fontainebleau forest, Millet began to paint rustic landscapes and scenes from peasant lives that became a hallmark of his work. These pastoral genre scenes of hard-working peasants have a simplicity and monumentality that make them a kind of visual homily on the virtues of the steadfast country folk he encountered.
This scene is a testament to the watchfulness of the shepherdess and her dog. The quiet dignity of the scene carries a Biblical resonance that Millet shares with Rembrandt. This muted delicacy is conveyed through Millet’s build up of tonalities on the sheet, achieved through smudging of the chalk overlaid with careful hatching lines to convey mass and the slanting light of late afternoon.
(6/28/10)Primary Object ClassificationDrawingCollection AreaWesternRights
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