The Angelus

The Angelus, 1857, Millet, Orsay Museum, Paris
The Angelus, 1857, Millet, Orsay Museum, Paris

The Angelus, 1857-59, was painted by Jean Francois Millet and is held in the Orsay Museum, Paris, France.

Millet had originally created this work for an American, Thomas Gold Appleton, who failed to take possession of the piece. Millet later changed the painting to include a steeple in the background and change the name from Prayer for the Potato Crop to The Angelus. The painting changed hands many times, ending with a bidding war between France and America. The painting has also been a source of speculation, due to Salvador Dali’s insistence that the figures are actually praying over their deceased child. Dali was so insistent that the painting was eventually x-rayed, revealing a shape that looked like a small coffin, indicating that Dali may have been right, and that Millet may have originally created the painting with the couple mourning over their small child’s coffin. 

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