Francisque Millet

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Francisque Millet
Francisque Millet - mountain landscape with lightning.JPG
Mountain landscape with lightning, ca. 1675[1]
Born Jean-François
(1642-04-27)27 April 1642
Died 3 June 1679(1679-06-03) (aged 37)
Nationality Belgian
Known for Painting
Movement Baroque
Italian landscape, Alte Pinakothek

Francisque Millet (27 April 1642, in Antwerp – 3 June 1679, in Paris), also known as Jean-François Milée or Millet I, was a Flemish-French landscape painter of the Baroque era.


According to Houbraken, Millet was the son of an ivory worker from Dijon, who had been tempted to move to Brabant as a result of the patronage of Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé. Since he found a market for ivory work in Antwerp, he stayed there and when later his son showed a talent for drawing, he apprenticed him to Laurentius Frank, a cousin of Abraham Genoels. This Genoels wrote Houbraken that he met Millet as a boy of 17 in 1659 in Paris (Houbraken mentions that he is aware that this shows a discrepancy with Millet's recorded birth date in Antwerp by two years) where he was working with his cousin. Genoels claimed that the young Millet had a remarkable memory for detail, and could make copies of any artwork quickly and accurately without needing to turn his head towards the subject. He could thus make copies of paintings with ease. At the age of eighteen, he married his master's daughter. He specialized in Italianate landscapes with figures in the manner of Pousyn (Houbraken means the landscape painter Gaspard Dughet, Nicolas Poussin's brother-in-law). Though he enjoyed success on his travels through France, England, and Holland, he tended to spend more than he earned, a practise which Houbraken disapproved of. He suffered from a sudden high fever which caused him to go insane and died shortly thereafter at the age of 36. He was buried in the St Nicolas-des-Champs church in Paris.[2]


His son, also named Jean François Millet (1666–1723), and also called Francisque, was born in Paris, and was made a member of the Academy of Painting in 1709. He consulted Watteau and other followers of the fête galante school when he wanted figures for his landscapes. The museum of Grenoble has a “Paysage” by him which is adorned with Watteau's figures.[3]


Though Houbraken claimed that Millet had two sons who both became painters, the Dutch RKD only shows him influencing the painter Jean-François Millet (II) and Jean Coustel.[4]

Perhaps because of the confusion between this painter and later painters with the same name, most notably Jean-François Millet, Mark Twain later wrote a farcical play called Is He Dead?, about an artist who stages his own death in order to make more money with his work.


  1. ^ "Mountain Landscape with Lightning about 1675, Francisque Millet". The National Gallery. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Francisco Milet biography in De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of the Digital library for Dutch literature (in Dutch)
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Millet, Jean François (c. 1642-1679)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ Biographical details of Francisque Millet at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (in Dutch)