Jean-François Millet, French, 1814-1875
Title: Country Scene with Stile
Date: c.1872
Medium: Oil on canvas
54 x 64 cm
Signed: lower left: J F Millet
Credit Line: Presented, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, 1950
Object Number: NGI.4265
DescriptionMillet is best known for his paintings of peasants at work. This peasant naturalism arose out of the 1848 Revolution in France, and against the backdrop of the rural depopulation that resulted from the Industrial Revolution. Although landscape provided settings for his figure compositions, pure landscape only became important to him late in his career, from the mid-1860s. For his landscapes he principally drew on his native Normandy, where he remained for the duration of the Franco-Prussian War.

In this idyllic view, the geese - scrambling through the stile to freedom - draw the eye from the shady foreground to the gentle sunlit scenery beyond, where the rooftops of a farmhouse nestle below the slope of the hill. Millet has playfully foreshortened the last bird as he struggles to squeeze his rounded body through the twig barrier. The unusually high horizon line, the interest in the reflected warm glow of sunset and the use of a light priming left to show through the thin paint layers, place this small work in the years after 1870.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)

ProvenancePresented, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, 1950
Exhibition HistoryExhibition of the Chester Beatty Collection, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1950

La Peinture Francais du XIXe siècle. Collection Chester Beatty de la Galerie National d'Irlande, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Calais; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Quimper; Musée Sainte-Croix, Poitiers, 1989

French 19th and 20th Century Paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland: Corot to Picasso, Daimaru Museum, Tokyo, 5 September - 17 September 1996; Daimaru Museum, Kyoto, 10 October - 22 October 1996; Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, 26 October - 2 December 1996; Daimaru Museum, Umeda,Osaka, 22 January - 9 February 1997; Aomori Municpal Gallery of Art, Aomori, 2 April - 20 April 1997

Chester Beatty: The Paintings, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 7 September 2012 - 31 August 2013; The Hunt Museum, Limerick, 1 February - 30 March 2014

Von Poussin bis Monet. Die Farben Frankreichs, The Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen, 22 March - 6 September 2015; Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, 10 October 2015 - 17 January 2016

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