Oct 26 2021

Blathers on Art

’The Opulence of Nature’

Hello Esteemed Visitor, welcome to what I hope will be another informative and titillating sojourn into the world of art. A lovely season unfolds outside our windows as we cosy up to the warmth of being indoors. Nature plays a symphony of an autumn rainbow with daring shades of mustards, reds and oranges. Perhaps you are wondering what has prompted my lyrical observation of the natural world? Wonder no further as I will share the source of my delight with you. Hoot! Today we journey into the lush and verdant world of the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Sir John Everett Millais.

At first glance, we are drawn into a seemingly paradoxical scene of a dream-like maiden floating atop still waters. She seems to float in between worlds, in between what we later discover to be her transition between life and death.

Ophelia, oil on canvas 76cm x 1.2m

A maiden touched by a symbol of forsaken love stares upwards, disconnected from the viewer and lost in the silence of her overwhelming grief. The death of Hamlet’s beloved, though inferred in Shakespeare’s play is given a deeper depiction by the artist. The juxtaposition of death (as we know Ophelia’s fate) against the lush yet moody natural surroundings is mesmerizing. Upon further examination, the viewer can extrapolate the complex layers of brushstrokes and colours utilized by the artist to evoke a romanticized study of nature.

This play upon realism and nature with lavish use of colours in rich autumnal tones is a common thread in Millais’ early paintings and a key facet of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic sensibility.

Autumnal Leaves, oil on canvas 73.7cm x 104.1cm

Sir John Everett Millais was one of the first artists to be named a baron and throughout his career, he enjoyed financial success and prominence in the world of academic art. Although the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood he formed would come to an end five years after its creation, the influence of the movement’s ideals would continue to inspire many in the years to come.

Jolly good! Until next we meet. May you find your revelations in the quietude of exploring the world of art.

The Crossing Board