07 March, 2008

Millais at the Van Gogh Museum

John Everett Millais
15 February 2008 - 18 May 2008

John Everett Millais (1829-1896) was the foremost painter of the English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and Britain’s most successful artist of the latter half of the 19th century. The exhibition, organised in collaboration with Tate Britain in London, comprises some 100 works and is the first monograph review since 1967 and the first exhibition since 1898 to cover all aspects of Millais’ career.
John Everett Millais founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in late 1848, together with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. This group of painters, poets and critics rejected the academism prescribed by the traditionalist Royal Academy and propagated a return to the honest simplicity in art they saw as having been lost after the Renaissance. The exhibition reveals the shifts in Millais’ style, from the most audacious ‘primitive’ and confrontational works dating from his Pre-Raphaelite period to popular nostalgic subjects including his famous society portraits and the evocative late landscapes that also charmed Vincent van Gogh.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is his painting of Ophelia loaned by the Tate. This work was inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet in which Ophelia, driven insane by her beloved Hamlet’s murder of her father, drowns herself. The painting displays a subtle interplay of mystique, a highly refined technique and subdued drama.


Visitors to the exhibition John Everett Millais with an mp3 player or iPod can follow an atmospheric Poetry Trail with texts and poems by, among others, Shakespeare, Keats and Tennyson. The trail focuses on six paintings with strong poetic or literary connections.



Me, Ophelia

15 February 2008 - 18 May 2008

In 1851-1852 John Everett Millais painted a canvas that would become his most famous work: Ophelia. This compelling picture of the tragic heroine of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, floating in the water, has inspired artists for generations.



Ophelia is also referred to in film and pop music. For instance, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue based their music video where the wild roses grow on the painting by Millais.

No comments: