Happy Birthday Jean Francois Millet!! This French painter from 1814 was founder of the Barbizon school and a well loved precursor to Impressionism. His work differed from his Impressionist contemporaries, however, in that he was more interested in social realities rather than atmospheric reflection on the pictorial elements. His paintings explored life and death, marriage and social status. He fell out of favor with the rise of Impressionism and has never truly regained his rightful status. Millet was an influence on artists such as Van Gogh, Monet and Seurat. I include, today, perhaps his most well known work The Gleaners, please note the similarities to Van Gogh, who was to come later. Follow the repetitive curve of the women's bowed backs sillouetted against a glowing backdrop of sunset as they tackle the age old task of scraping up food for a meal.