Art: A Great Lost Painter

For M. Millet, art is slavish copying of nature. He lights his lantern and goes looking for cretins. . .imagine a monster with no skull, the eye extinguished by an idiot's squint, straddling in the middle of a field like a scarecrow. No spark of intelligence humanizes this resting brute. Has he been working or murdering?

So ran one Paris critic's response to Jean François Millet's Man with a Hoe at the Salon of 1863. And how the Second Empire's fear of the collective poor is distilled in the last six words! Proletarian labor, as a subject for art, was the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!