Since 1775 Michelle — student at Nicolas Tane, and at the end of this study accompanies the commander of a regiment of hussars de Bertini. The numerous sketches made on these journeys, consequently reflected in the paintings of the master.
At the age of 15 years old aspiring artist studying at the Louvre of works by Dutch and Flemish masters of the Baroque. This influence of the "Dutch" due to such significant attention by the artist's naturalism and the detail on the canvas in his early creative period (until 1810-1815).
Later, Michelle discovers as an artistic objective nature of the surroundings of Paris.
Jean Michel is one of the forerunners of the "Barbizon school".
French painter, a landscape painter, a precursor of the artists of the Barbizon school of landscape.
Came from a family of modest means, he received his primary education under the guidance of a priest who lived in the vicinity of Saint-Denis. In 1775 a pupil comes to the painter Leduc, who wrote of the paintings of historical genre, also studied at the A. Tone.
In 1783 he was invited to Normandy, where he made a drawing lessons. Visited Germany, Switzerland (1789). In Paris a friend the art dealer Lebrun, Michel was allowed to copy the works of Dutch landscape painters; with a passion copies in the Louvre rasdale, Hobbema and others. It was suggested that in the period of the Empire he was entrusted with the restoration of paintings by Dutch and Flemish painters in the Louvre.
Along with this, Michelle begins working in the suburbs of Paris over the small sketches from nature and based on them writes, in painting workshop, becoming one of the first French artists who made the landscape of his native country, the main theme of his art.
Michelle did not aspire to the beauties of distant lands, and he admitted that inspiration him enough landscape "four leagues" around Paris.
The artist never signed his paintings, and rarely writing the dates of their creation, so the exact Dating of the scenery difficult. The researchers distinguish three main periods in his work, characterized by certain artistic features.
The early period, until 1808, when Michelle was painted in the spirit of the Dutch masterpieces of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, reviving a landscape with figures of people and animals (watering, 1794 — 1795, Nantes, musée des Beaux-arts; In the woods, Paris, Louvre). Sometimes these figures wrote for it Demarn, the Suebi. In 1808 — 1820 creative manner of the artist becomes more personal, he finds his own face. It is starting to be interested in the problem of the transfer of space, lighting, atmospheric conditions (Road, Havre Museum; Neighborhood Sendeni, Paris, Carnavalet Museum; the Mill, London, Victoria and albert Museum).
In the paintings of the late period are distinctly starting to sound a romantic note, landscapes are imbued with feelings of anxiety, emotional emotions: sky with dark clouds hanging low over the earth, the wind bent trees, intensify the contrasts of light and shade. Scenic texture becomes more diverse, impasto strokes with a thick layer, cover the canvas: Thunderstorm (Strasbourg, Museum of fine arts), Two mills (the Hague, Museum Mesdag), Mill on Montmartre before the storm (Paris, Louvre).
The paintings of Michel warmed with a feeling of sincere love for the natural world, the artist reveals some special, humbling beauty of the lowly and humble the landscape motif.