|John Everett Millais, The Good Samaritan|
In this initial post I will cover a bit of Millais's life and art. In the next post, I will discuss how the prints on the parables were created. Then in later posts I will discuss the prints themselves--a couple in detail and a few very briefly. Here goes:
- Have genuine ideas to express.
- Study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them.
- Sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote.
- And, most indispensable of all: Produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.
I won't discuss the painting in details, but note the wound on Jesus' hand, the blood on his foot, John the Baptist bringing water, the dove, the symbolic "sheep," and so forth:
|John Everett Millais, Christ in the House of His Parents|
By 1853, however, the PRM was virtually dissolved, and Millais experimented with other modes of artistic expression. In the 1850s, he moved from the brilliantly-colored and minutely-detailed works in the PRM style to a broader, more loose, and more fluent style of painting, In the 1850s. As noted above, Millais became the most popular artist of his day, although some critics would claim that he sacrificed artistic authenticity for fame and fortune (including Ruskin); he himself noted that with a family to support, he could no longer afford to work in a way that brought him little income. His subjects, then, became more sentimental and told a “good story” that would appeal to the broader public, such as charming portraits of children and scenes of family life and book illustrations (Chilvers 2004: 468; Rosenfeld and Smith 2008: 50).
I can do ordinary illustrations as quickly as most men, but these designs can scarcely be regarded in this same light—each Parable I illustrate perhaps a dozen times before I fix, and the hidden Treasure I have altered upon the wood at least six times (Rosenfeld and Smith 2007: 95).