Jules Breton, French, 1827 - 1906
As one of the primary painters of peasant themes in the nineteenth century, and an artist strongly influenced by his own native traditions from northern France, Jules Breton’s reputation rivaled that of Eugène Delacroix or Jean-Dominique Ingres at the time of his death in 1906. Since then, after a long period of relative obscurity, Breton has returned to considerable favor; he is now regarded as a primary painter of daily life with an inherent and substantial understanding of the old masters form the Italian renaissance especially Raphael. The latter artists helped Breton fashion a highly idealist version of peasant beauty. By examining Breton’s background, it will be possible to understand how he evolved as an artist.