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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/360

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MILLET


312


MILLET


desolatcnpss, or liis "Man with ttio Hoc" and "Vino- dresser restins" in sense of utter exliauslion. The impression of physical fatif^ue readies the point of stupefaction and insensibility. The lifjiires seem so thoroughly emptied of their vital energy as to be petrified. The hanl look is congealed into a grimace. Nowhere has his effort, the forcing of his individual style to its utmast limit, brought the great artist to results more harsh, more grandiose, or more bar- barous.

But things were getting quieter and easier for him. His extraordinary personality, his eloquence, the strong conviction of this "Danubian peasant", were all making themselves felt. The world was beginning to apjireciate the loftiness of view and the moral grandeiir of this man of the fields with the lion's mane and the head of a "Jupiter in wooden shoes". A relaxation came over his spirit and his ideas. He travelled, rested, revisited his own part of the country, made short trips to •■Vuvergne, to Alsace, and to Swit- zerland. In 1S6S he was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour — at fifty years of age. In 1S70 he was elected a member of the jury. But the great war, the death of his sister antl of his dear friend Rousseau, finally wrecked a constitution already injured by hard work and privation. During the German invasion he and his family took refuge at Cherbourg near his native home. After that time he almost ceased to paint. His latest pictures, the tragic "November" (1S70), the "Church of Ur6ville" (1S72), and the incomparable "Spring" (1873), are mere landscapes, with the human figure entirely ab- sent. Thenceforward he preferred simpler, more di- rect processes to that of painting, using the pencil or pastel — like the great idealists, who always ended by simplifying or minimizing the material medium and contenting themselves with etching, as did Rem- brandt, with drawing, as Michelangelo, or with the piano, as Beethoven. These last works of Millet's are among his finest and most precious. His colour- ing, formerly heavy and sad, often rusty and un- pleasing, or sticky and muddy, is here more delicate than ever before. Nowhere does one feel the touching beauty of this artistic soul, and its masculine but ten- der eloquence, more perfectly than in his studies and sketches. The finest collections of them are in the possession of M. A. Rouart, in Paris, and of Mr. Shaw, in Boston. Millet passed away at the age of sixty years and four months.

He was one of the noblest figures in contemporary art, one of those men who in our day have done most credit to mankind. As a painter he was not without his faults — somewhat clumsy in technique, not pleas- ing in colour, while emotion, with him, tloes not always keep clear of declamation. These faults are most palpable in his most famous works, such as "The Sower" and "The Angelus". But on the other hand, so many others are perfect gems — marvels of execution and poetic sentiment, like "The Morsel in the Beak" (La Becqu6e), " Maternal solicitude ", and " The Sheep- fold". Other painters have had more influence than Millet. Courbet, for example, surpassed him in scope and in prodigious sense of life; Corot, with just as much poetry, has in a higher degree the grace, the charm, the exquisite gift of harmony. But who shall say that Millet's rugged gravity was not the condition, the outward sign, of the deep import of his message? No one has done more than he to make us feel the sanctity of life and the mystic grandeur of man's mission upon the earth. His peasants, rooted to the soil and as if fixed there for eternity, seem to be per- forming the rites of a sacred mystery. One is con- scious of something permanent in them, one feels how intimately they are united with the great whole, their fraternal solidarity with the rest of mankind and with the cosmic ends. Though he never handled professedly religious subjects. Millet succeeded in


being the most religious painter of our times. His " Heturn to the larm " irresistibly suggests the Flight into Egypt; his " Repast" of harvesters, or of glean- ei-s, evokes the Biblical poetry of Huth and Booz. On the river where his " Washerwomen " come and l)eat their linen, one would think the cradle of Moses was floating. The greatness of his soul has set in relief before our eyes the dignity of our nature; he has shown us how the trivial can he made to serve in the expression of the sublime, and how the Infinite and the Divine can be discerned in the humblest

Sensier, La vie et Vrruvre de J.-F. MUM (Paris, 1881) ; Idem, Souvenirs sur Th. Rousseau (Paris, 1872); Piedagnel. Jean- Francois Millet, Souvenirs de Barbizon (Paris, 1876); Wheel- wright, Recollections of Millet in Atlantic Monthly (Sept., 1876) ; BuRTY, MaUres et Petits-Mattres (Paris, 1877); Huysmans. Cer- tains (Paris, 1899): Yriarte, J.-F. MUM (Paris. 1884); Michel, Notes sur I'art modeme (Paris, 1896); Cartwright, J.-F. Millet (London, 1896); Mollet, The Painters of Barbizon. I (London, 1890); Charavet, UneMtre de Millet in Cosmopolis (April, 1898); RoLLAND. y.-f MUM (London, 1904); Marcel, J.-F. Millet (Paris, 1908).

Louis Gillet.

Millet (or Milet), Pierre, a celebrated early Jesuit missionary in New York State, b. at Bourges, France, 19 November, 1635 (al. 1631); d. at Quebec, 31 December, 1708. Having graduated Master of Arts, he entered the Society of Jesus at Paris on 3 October, 165.5, studied philosophy at La Fleche (1657-8), taught various classes there (1658-61) and at Compiegne (1661-3), and then returned to La Fleche for a second year of philosophy (1663-4). After a four years' course in theology at the College of Louis-le-Grand in Paris (1664-8), he was sent to Canada, and had already been chosen to help Father Allouez in the west, when, quite unexpectedly, his destination was changed. The Onondaga ambassa- dors had received the answer to their address, on 27 August, 1668, and Fathers Millet and de Carheil were assigned them as missionaries. In an incredibly short time Millet picked up enough of the language to en- able him to preside at public prayers and to his still greater satisfaction, to teach catecliism. This joy, however, was soon turned to sadness and pity at the sight, new to him, of some captive Andastes, brought in by a war party to be burnt at the stake. His feel- ings may be gathered from what he wrote on this occasion: "I am at a loss to know how to interpret this presage. Would to God that it might betoken that I was to make of these tribes captives of Jesus Christ and prevent their burning throughout eternity. What happiness for me if it foreshadowed that one day I also might be a captive to be burnt for Jesus Christ."

His method of evangelizing the Onondagas may be judged from a letter written from the mission of St. Jean Baptiste, 15 June, 1670 (Rel. 1670, vii). In 1671 he made his solemn profession of the four vows, and received from the (3nondaga nation the name of Teithronhiagunnra, that is "The Looker-up to Heaven". In 1672 he was appointed missionary of the Oneidas (q. v.), " the most arrogant and least tractable of all the Iroquois" (Rel. 1672, iii), and laboured among them until 1685 with marvellous success. He was then recalled to act as interpreter at the Grand Council of Peace to be held at Catarakouy (now Kingston, Ontario). Both he and the other missionaries were shamefully duped by the governor and used to lure the Iroquois into the pitfall prepared for them (.see Missions, Indian; Charlevoix, I, 510). Late in 1687 or early in 1688 Millet was sent as chap- lain at Fort Niagara. Here, as at Catarakouy, scurvy was decimating the troops, affording ample scope for Millet's charity and zeal. To invoke God's mercy in behalf of the stricken garrison, a cross eighteen feet high was erected in the fort by the officers and blessed by Father Millet on Good Friday, 16 April, 1688. On 15 Sept., 1688, however, the