View Full Version : Masters of Pastels-October 2005-Jean-Francois Millet

A Few Pigments
10-02-2005, 07:16 PM

Jean-François Millet
Born in : Gruchy, France 1814 - Died in : Barbizon, France 1875


French Realist Painter.

• Relationships:
Studied under Paul Delaroche. http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/delaroche_paul.html
Not to be confused with Baroque Era Landscape painter Francisque Millet http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/millet_francisque.html
or American painter Francis Davis Millet. http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/millet_francis_davis.html

Artists by Movement:
Realism http://www.artcyclopedia.com/history/realism.html
Mid-19th Century

Realism is an approach to art in which subjects are depicted in as straightforward a manner as possible, without idealizing them and without following rules of formal artistic theory.

The earliest Realist work began to appear in the 18th century, in a reaction to the excesses of Romanticism and Neoclassicism. This is evident in John Singleton Copley's paintings, and some of the works of Goya. But the great Realist era was the middle of the 19th century, as artists became disillusioned with the artifice of the Salons and the influence of the Academies.

Realism came closest to being an organized movement in France, inspiring artists such as Camille Corot, Jean-Francois Millet and the Barbizon School of landscape painters.

Besides Copley, American Realists included the painters Thomas Eakins, and Henry Ossawa Tanner, both of whom studied in France.

French Realism was a guiding influence on the philosophy of the Impressionists. The Ashcan School artists, the American Scene painters, and, much later, on the Contemporary Realists are all following the American Realist tradition.

Pastel Paintings

Bucheron preparant des Fagots, Pastel on paper, 19 1/4 x 13 3/8 inches (49 x 34 cm), Private collection http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/image.asp?id=10972

Peasant Mother at the Hearth Black and colored chalks on buff laid paper 39.7 cm x 32.2 cm Fogg Art Museum Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/collections/servlet/webpublisher.WebCommunication?ia=codetail&ic=basic&oid=16356&sq=1&tr=4&tech=&name=Millet,%20Jean%20Fran&title=&objtype=&medspt=&dtfrom=&dtto=&century=&credit=&cult=&accnum=&pic=yes&aid=2780&icurrpage=1&isrc=singleartist

c1846-48 Head of a Boy Black and white chalk on beige laid paper 46.5 cm x 29.6 cm http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/collections/servlet/webpublisher.WebCommunication?ia=codetail&ic=basic&oid=16353&sq=2&tr=4&tech=&name=Millet,%20Jean%20Fran&title=&objtype=&medspt=&dtfrom=&dtto=&century=&credit=&cult=&accnum=&pic=yes&aid=2780&icurrpage=1&isrc=singleartist

1848 Liberty Black chalk and pastel 472 x 317 mm http://www.clevelandart.org/exhibcef/butkin/html/7345747.html

1858, Le Nourrisson or L'enfant Malade, Conté crayon and pastel, 15 x 12 1/8 inches (38.10 x 30.99 cm), Private collection http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/image.asp?id=4594

c1860 In the Garden Pastel and watercolor over black conté crayon on beige laid paper 31.5 x 37.5 cm (12 3/8 x 14 3/4 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31619&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

c1860–62 Millet Morning Toilette Black conté crayon and pastel on cream laid paper 37.1 x 25.7 cm (14 5/8 x 10 1/8 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31618&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

1860–62 Shepherdess Knitting, outside the Village of Barbizon Pastel over black conté crayon on cream laid paper 40 x 29 cm (15 3/4 x 11 7/16 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31610&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

c1863 Millet's Birthplace at Gruchy Pastel over black conté crayon heightened with pen and ink on light brown wove paper 31.2 x 45.5 cm (12 5/16 x 17 15/16 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31611&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

c1863 House with a Well at Gruchy Pastel over black conté crayon heightened with pen and ink on beige wove paper 31.8 x 43.2 cm (12 1/2 x 17 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31612&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

c1863 Millet Manor House near Gréville Watercolor and pastel over black conté crayon heightened with pen and ink on light brown wove paper 34.3 x 45.7 cm (13 1/2 x 18 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31613&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

1866-67 Millet Entrance to the Forest at Barbizon in Winter Black conté crayon and pastel on gray-beige wove paper
51.5 x 40.6 cm (20 1/4 x 16 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31607&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

1867-1868, Dandelions, Pastel on paper, 15 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches (40.20 x 50.17 cm), Private collection

1867–68 Coming Storm Black conté crayon and pastel on green-brown wove paper 42.0 x 53.7 cm (16 9/16 x 21 1/8 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31292&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

c1867-69 The Farm House Pastel on paper 28 x 34 1/4 in. (71.12 x 87 cm) http://www.artsmia.org/collection/search/art.cfm?id=1636

1867-70 Killing the Hog Charcoal and pastel on beige prepared canvas 68.0 x 88.4 cm (26 3/4 x 34 13/16 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31030&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

1868 Millet The Church at Chailly Pastel on paper 28 1/2 x 33 1/2 in. (72.39 x 85.09 cm) http://www.artsmia.org/collection/search/art.cfm?id=1637#

1868–70 Buckwheat Harvest Pastel and black conté crayon on light brown wove paper 73 x 95.3 cm (28 3/4 x 37 1/2 in.) http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=31291&coll_keywords=&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=Millet&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=Pastels&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_images=1&coll_on_view=&coll_sort=0&coll_sort_order=0&coll_package=0&coll_start=1

c1870-1874, Shepherdess, pastel and conté crayon drawing, 27 x 37 inches (70 x 94 cm) http://www.artcyclopedia.com/masterscans/l163.html

1871-1874, The Bouquet of Daisies, Pastel on beige paper, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. http://cgfa.sunsite.dk/m/p-millet3.htm

Millet Gathering Apples oil14-75x11-75in http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=22050

10-03-2005, 05:34 AM
Thank you for posting all these links, Bruce. I had no idea that Millet used pastel (it seems to have been the 'unspoken' medium for so many great pieces!) ... but then, who would know that "The Church at Chailly" isn't an oil? What a delightful piece!

A Few Pigments
10-03-2005, 07:17 AM
Hi E-J, good to see you here. Ta for the thank you. It’s amazing isn’t it, but The Church at Chailly really is a pastel. When I read your post though I thought “Oh no, did I get one wrong”? Well, I checked through the list and I did get one wrong. The last painting in the list called "Gathering Apples" is an oil painting. I meant to save that link in a different DOC file. It is a nice painting though…lol

10-03-2005, 07:32 AM
I wouldn't worry, Bruce ... it doesn't hurt to have an example of an artist's work in oil here, so that approach, technique, palette and so on can be compared with that of their pastels. :)

11-05-2005, 10:39 AM
Is chalk referred to in the paintings , the same as blackboard chalk?:confused:

A Few Pigments
11-05-2005, 05:32 PM
Hi Chloe_1,
The short answer to your question is yes and no. Chalkboard chalk is usually just calcium carbonate and a binder. What we call chalkboard chalk has been used by artists over the centuries as well as chalk made from earth pigments. You’ll find more about this below in the paragraph titled Natural red chalk. Refer to HISTORY OF CHALK below for the evaluation of the chalk artists have used over time.

Today chalk is used for everything from chalkboards to scrapbooking. There’s even a sprayable chalk in a can.

Chalk: Pigments mixed with gum (gum arabic or gum acacia) and pressed into a stick form for use as crayons. Pastel is similar, but less tightly bound.

CHALK http://www.louisville.edu/a-s/finearts/VRC/buser345/readdraw.html
Chalks make soft, fuzzy lines like charcoal, but they are usually not as dark. A chalk line has a softness to it and a transparency that allows the light of the paper to show through. Chalk is more permanent than charcoal, however, since it cannot be as easily erased. In addition to black, artists since the fifteenth century have also drawn with red and white chalk, sometimes in combination. These red, white, and black chalk colors are naturally found in the earth.

In the late eighteenth century, the same French manufacturer who invented the pencil compounded fairly hard chalk with an oily material so that the chalk adheres to the surface even better. His chalks are known, confusingly, as Conté crayon. Seurat used a black conté crayon to produce the smooth, rich value contrasts in his Boy in a Straw Hat.

Although the French word "crayon" has been applied to manufactured chalks, the word signifies to most of us the colored crayons made for children. The main ingredient of these crayons is paraffin. They are seldom employed as an artists' medium, however, because the pigments of crayons are not always permanent and because crayons are not very flexible. It is nearly impossible to blend the colors of crayons.

A natural chalk drawing tool is an impure mineral excavated from the earth and then cut into sticks. It is ready to draw straight out of the earth without processing of any kind. The colored earth is essentially very refined clay mixed with a pigment. European artists used only a few colors of chalk--red, black, and white.

It is not easy to find deposits of such material because the earth must be uniform enough for consistent color and texture, dense and cohesive enough to be cut, but also soft and crumbly (friable) enough to make a mark on paper. According to Watrous, the deposits mentioned in earlier centuries in Europe cannot be found; perhaps they were mined out.

Natural red chalk--the most important of the three--has a warm and vital color which contributes a natural liveliness to any drawing. The red hue derives from iron oxide, which occurs in the form of the mineral hematite (iron ore). The hematite has to be diffused with fine clay in order to be soft enough for drawing with it. Most hematites are hard and brittle and thus useless for drawing. Giorgio Vasari said that natural red chalk came from Germany; other writers in the seventeenth century said there were deposits in Italy, Spain, France, and Flanders.

Different deposits of chalk can produce different kinds of red. Natural red chalk is usually pale blood-red, but the red can also be warm, cool, or neutral (that is, red-orange, red-violet, or red-brown). When a blood-red chalk is moistened to produce a stronger, darker, more solid line, it produces a cooler color. Watteau sometimes wet his chalk for accents around the eyes, nose and mouth. By rubbing his natural red chalk lines lightly or smudging them slightly Guercino increased the warmth of the chalk and made it more red-orange. Natural red chalk lacks the great value range of charcoal or black chalk. Only light modeling is possible. However, lines are broad and soft in contrast with metalpoint and pen lines. Natural red chalk works best with drawings of modest scale: Michelangelo's study for the Lybian Sibyl is only 8 3/8 x 11 3/8 inches.

Italian artists began using red chalk in the late fifteenth century. Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo used it for studies. In the sixteenth century its use spread to other countries. Several artists are known for using red chalk in combination with other natural colored chalks, especially black and red. Fran?ois Clouet, Peter Paul Rubens, and especially Antoine Watteau--the supreme master in the use of combined colors. Watteau usually would not mix strokes of different color, and thus each colored stroke was fresh and unadulterated. He sometimes substituted a lush fabricated black chalk for a natural one.

By 1800 natural red chalk was used less and less, probably because the supply of satisfactory material was diminishing. What was available was deteriorating in quality; even in the eighteenth century artists complained that the natural red chalk they could get was too hard or too gritty or mixed with foreign material and unrefined clay. These difficulties led to the production of manufactured red chalk in the nineteenth century. The product that now most closely resembles natural red chalk is often called sanguine--red-orange in color and slightly greasy. Red chalk drawings by nineteenth-century masters are usually made from fabricated material.

“Chalk” http://arthistory.about.com/cs/glossaries/g/c_chalk.htm
From Shelley Esaak,
Your Guide to Art History.
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(noun) - From the Latin "calx" (limestone) chalk is the mineral substance calcium carbonate (the main ingredient of limestone).

For creating art, chalk can be used in its initial, whitish form - either pressed into sticks or used as the white part of gesso. More commonly, when you hear tell of a chalk drawing its creator has used the type of chalk where pigment has been mixed with gum (arabic, not chewing) and pressed into a waxy-feeling, four-sided stick. These sticks are similar to pastels, but thinner, lighter, longer and, I assure you, maddeningly easily snapped in two if the artist is feeling any latent tension.

Hey! Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!
What you need:
Your favorite colors of tempera paints
Plaster of Paris
1. Simply combine 1-part non-toxic plaster of Paris and 1-part tempera paint into a bowl and stir until the consistency is that of frosting. You may need to add either more plaster or tempera to reach this consistency.
2. Cast pieces of chalk by spooning this mixture into small waxed cups, a non-stick muffin tin, or other small containers. Use a release agent if necessary. Let set for at least 24 hours.
3. Remove from container and let the fun begin!

1. If it's easier, you can substitute powder pigments and water for tempera paint.
2. Layer colors in cups for a striped chalk, or swirl them for a marbled effect.
3. Add your favorite color of glitter for a shimmering result.
4. Spread tempera /plaster of Paris mixture into plastic cookie cutters for sidewalk chalk in fun shapes -- maybe even silhouettes!
5. With a handful of ceramic or modeling clay, produce a small pinch pot into which to cast your sidewalk chalk.
6. Because small pieces of chalk and pastel can be difficult to hold, some of us throw them away. Don't waste them! Add these little nuggets to your mixture of tempera and plaster for a fun aggregate of extra colors.

Chalk and Art Chalk at Dick Blick http://www.dickblick.com/categories/chalk/

Spray Chalk http://www.kuzsports.com/spray_chalk.htm

Chalk Art News http://chalkartnews.com/

Chalking is a super way to add a touch of color to your scrapbook page— the subtle color can transform a piece of patterned paper into a three-dimensional work of art. Even better, it’s easy to do and inexpensive! http://scrapbooking.about.com/library/weekly/aa090101a.htm

07-06-2007, 10:54 AM
As a matter of interest Millet painted my great-great grandfather. The portrait was commisioned and it used to hang in the vast hallway of the family mansion in Liverpool. The portrait showed two bothers about 5 and 7 years of age (the eldest being my great-great-grandfather).