In this nocturnal scene, the waning moon throws a mysterious light across the plain extending between the villages of Barbizon and Chailly. Millet was recorded as saying of the solitary shepherd: Oh, how I wish I could make those who see my work feel the splendors and terrors of the night! One ought to be able to make people hear the songs, the silences, and murmurings of the air. They should feel the infinite. . . . Although educated and trained in Paris, Millet was born into a peasant family from the Normandy region of northern France. Millet drew on this background, specializing in scenes of peasant life. An outbreak of cholera in 1849 forced Millet to leave Paris with his family and settle in the village of Barbizon, where he became acquainted with the Barbizon artists Théodore Rousseau, Virgile Narcisse Diaz de la Peña, Constant Troyon, and Antoine-Louis Barye.


  • Title: The Sheepfold, Moonlight
  • Creator Lifespan: 1814/1875
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Date Created: 1856-1860
  • Type: oil paintings; panel paintings
  • Rights: Acquired by William T. Walters, 1884-1887, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: oil on panel
  • Provenance: Chevalier A. de Knyff [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Vente C (Carlin), Paris, April 29, 1872, no. 19; Mme. William Hooper, 1872, by purchase; William T. Walters, Baltimore, 1884-1887, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: France
  • Inscriptions: [Signature] Lower right: J.F. Millet.
  • ExhibitionHistory: Exposition Universelle. Paris. 1867; Cent chefs d'oeuvres des collections parisiennes. Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. 1883; The Works of Antoine-Louis Barye. American Art Gallery (New York), New York. 1889-1890; Before Monet: Landscape Painting in France and Impressionist Masters: Highlights from The Walters Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998; Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from Ingres to Matisse. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; Dayton Art Institute, Dayton; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. 2000-2002; A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004; The Road to Impressionism: Landscapes from Corot to Manet. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2004-2005; In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet. National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston. 2008-2009; 19th Century Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin. 2010-2011
  • Artist: Jean-François Millet

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