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Art History 101
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Source: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

A child prodigy, John Everett Millais was admitted to the London’s Royal Academy as their youngest ever student, aged 11. There he befriended William Holman Hunt, with whom, alongside Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he would form the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The group rejected the idealization of classical art favoured by the art establishment, instead producing work characterized by meticulous observation and a moral tone redolent of medieval art. Initially scandalizing the public, Millais’s more realist images later garnered him popularity and success. He painted his most famous work, Ophelia (1851-2), over a five-month period on the banks of an English river (as well as with the use of a live model in a bath full of water); the work exemplifies his close attention to naturalistic detail. Millais also made numerous illustrations for publications, including an edition of Lord Tennyson’s poems and several novels by Anthony Trollope, as well as portraits of leading figures in Victorian society.

Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Selected exhibitions
2019
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and BritainTate Britain
2018
New AcquisitionsBritish Museum
2016
Artist and EmpireNational Gallery Singapore
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Ophelia, 1851-1852

Oil on canvas
30 × 44 in
76.2 × 111.8 cm
AH
Art History 101
Medium
Image rights
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

A child prodigy, John Everett Millais was admitted to the London’s Royal Academy as their youngest ever student, aged 11. There he befriended William Holman Hunt, with whom, alongside Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he would form the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The group rejected the idealization of classical art favoured by the art establishment, instead producing work characterized by meticulous observation and a moral tone redolent of medieval art. Initially scandalizing the public, Millais’s more realist images later garnered him popularity and success. He painted his most famous work, Ophelia (1851-2), over a five-month period on the banks of an English river (as well as with the use of a live model in a bath full of water); the work exemplifies his close attention to naturalistic detail. Millais also made numerous illustrations for publications, including an edition of Lord Tennyson’s poems and several novels by Anthony Trollope, as well as portraits of leading figures in Victorian society.

Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Selected exhibitions (3)
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