Page:François-Millet.djvu/143

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JEAN FRANCOIS MILLET

breaking out. His companions used to joke about his figures "in the fashions of Caen/' and he wearied those around him by his ad- miration for Michael Angelo. Then poverty compelled him to make imitations of the fashionable painters of the eighteenth century, whom he could not bear. This compulsion had at least the advantage that it taught him the mastery of his brush ; he freed himself from Delaroche's blacks and opaque shadows ; he studied Correggio ; and so successful were his endeavours to acquire those qualities wherein he chiefly fell short that by about 1844 his most striking quality in the eyes of his contemporaries was his colour. He had charming flower-like tones of grey and pink. He painted easily and he pleased. The best example of his works of this period is the Portrait of little Antoinette Feuardent at six years old. Her head is covered by a pink silk kerchief; she is kneeling barefooted before a looking-glass, looking at herself and making little grimaces. In the year after his second marriage up to about 1847 he had an exuber- ance of sensuous spontaneous ardour, very unusual with him, which showed itself in

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