Jean Francois Millet (Born 1814) was born in France. He was a French painter and one of the founding members of the Barbizon school in rural France. He can be categorized as part of the Realism art movement. The artist is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers. Millet began studying art at 18. And when he was 23, he received funding to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After a decade of mixed success while he was painting portraits to support himself, his painting titled “The Winnower” was shown at the Salon of 1848 and this was the first of his pictures of peasants to sell. Millet moved to Barbizon in Fontainebleau forest in 1849 – this is where he lived for the rest of his life, mostly in abject poverty. While in Barbizon, he painted most of his works some of which turned out to be the most to date, including The Man with a Hoe.
Millet’s art was much influenced by his childhood. In his art, Millet portrayed the dignity, gravity, and hardship faced by common agricultural laborers. This led him to be labeled a "Socialist revolutionary." However, his viewpoint was less political than fatalistic. From 1865 to 1869, Millet produced more than 100 pastels, considered among his finest works. He was awarded a medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1867, and he received the Légion d'Honneur in 1868. In 1870, he was elected to the Salon jury. His humanity toward peasant life deeply impressed Vincent Van Gogh and many other painters.