Monday, May 07, 2007

Pre-Raphaelite Artist - Millais

The Blind Girl (1856) -- Sir John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896)

"Millais was in essence a great craftsman, and was not in any way an intellectual. He was a Victorian hearty, with a love of hunting, shooting, and fishing. Throughout his life he remained at heart a large enthusiastic schoolboy. He was a devoted father, and was particularly indulgent to his daughters. He had the gift of inspiring loyalty and affection amongst a wide circle of friends. Fellow artists who one would not expect to be sympathetic to Millais the artist regarded Millais the man with affection, Edward Burne-Jones was amongst his admirers. The artist himself did not feel that he had compromised his standards. In later life he said ‘ I may honestly say that I have never consciously placed an idle touch upon canvass; and that I have always been honest and hardworking.’ This is not the comment of a cynical, financially motivated individual.

"This is one of the painters most outstanding early Pre-Raphaelite works dating from 1854-1856, combining fidelity to nature, & social comment. The beauty of the picture makes it easier for the viewer to sympathise with the blind girl. The lack of any assistance to young, disabled beggars like the girl. The background landscape is not of a single area, being a combination of Sussex, & the home of Millais wife Effie near Perth. The painter always had difficulties in combining figures with landscapes, but in this picture combines both most successfully."

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