Millais: A Sketch

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Pallas Athene, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 94 pages
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Reprinted for the first time since 1889, this is the first biography and considered appraisal of one of England's most prodigiously talented painters. Sir John Everett Millais, P. R. A. (1829-1896) was the most precociously talented artist England has ever produced. His astonishing facility gained him entry as the Royal Academy's youngest ever pupil. At just 19 he founded with six other painters the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which revolutionized the English art world with a visionary intensity of both subject matter and style. Millais was its most creative member; as Jason Rosenfeld says in the introduction to this volume, "the sheer quality and distinctness of each of Millais's paintings of the 1850s is unmatched by any Western artist of the period." Yet there is much more to Millais' career than Pre-Raphaelitism. Some of the most emotive narrative paintings of the Victorian era, its greatest portraits, and especially some of its most beautiful, if neglected, landscapes, came from his brush--as did some of its most notoriously successful paintings, like Bubbles, the "fancy picture" that was made into an advertisement for Pears' Soap. This volume includes not only Millais's only published work of art criticism, the pithy Thoughts on Our Art of Today, but also the first extended biography and appraisal of his work by the important critic M. H. Spielmann. This hugely engaging Sketch gives both a warm and personal picture of the man and a level-headed evaluation of the qualities--and defects--of his work as they appeared to contemporaries. Neither essay has been in print for more than a century.

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About the author (2007)

Art critic M. H. Spielmann (1858?1948) was the editor of The Magazine of Art and art editor for the 10th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He was a friend of many of the leading artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the author of several works on artistic and literary subjects, including British Portrait Painters, A History of Punch, and The Portraits of Shakespeare, as well as monographs on Ruskin, Watts, and Kate Greenaway.

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