SPOTLIGHT: 3 October, 2007
Sex, Soap and Shakespeare: Millais at the Tate
with Burlington Bertie .
Ophelia by Millais. Tate Britain.
stunning exhibition of the work of John Everett Millais has opened at Tate Britain. This is the most comprehensive and extensive exhibition of his work that has been mounted since his 1967 retrospective at the Royal Academy,. It is also the first since 1898 that focuses in depth on the artist's career from his induction at the Royal Academy in 1840 as an 11 year old child prodigy, to his death and interment in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1896.
John Everett Millais was a founding member and perhaps the greatest of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the group of radical artists including William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. They burst upon the scene in 1848 as the first avant-garde movement in Art; confounding the stylish Mannerist academicians and inspiring future painters, poets sculptors, craftsmen and architects with their concept of "truth to nature" and their interest in Romanticism and the spiritual and creative integrity of Medieval culture.
Britain's best known and most successful painter in the second half of the nineteenth century, Millais was both innovative and prodigious in his output which ranged from the sublime sentiment and pathos of his dead Ophelia, through the saccherine bathos of Bubbles, (bought by Pears Soap), to the sweeping, misty, unpeopled Scottish landscapes that hint of the later Impressionist movement. The Tate exhibition shows all this, (including the sublime Ophelia and the infamous Bubbles), together with paintings that illustrate the artist's progression from a Pre-Raphaelite preoccupation with detail into Aestheticism and family portraiture and his typically Victorian pride in documenting the grandeur of Empire. As such, Millais was very much a man of both his time. He was innovative and scandal ridden in both his life and his art, which sometimes offended by its then unpalatable realism. His paintings often throb with an overt sensuality and covert sexuality; an explosive mixture that fueled the controversy dogging the work of the Pre-Raphaelites throughout their era.
Don't miss this remarkable exhibition which brings together work on loan from galleries and museums around the world. The Tate has arranged a number of talks and symposia on this important exhibition and offers online focus on various paintings. You can also book yourself a private one hour long guided tour of the exhibition. Check out the Tate Britain website below for all details.
Venue: Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1. Tel: 'Millais', Tate Britain, London SW1. Tel: 0207 887 8888
Dates: Until 13 January 2008. 10am - 5.15pm daily. Closed 24-26 December.
Tickets: £11, (Concessions). Book online, (timed entry, recommended), or at door.
Illustrated Catalogue: £24. Buy online or at door. 272 pp. 120 colour and 20 mono illustrations. Text by Prof. Jason Rosenbeld, Marymount Manhattan College, New York; Alison Smith, Curator, Tate Britain.
John Everett Millais Millais and the Pre-Raphaelites. Wikipedia biography.
Mannerism The Mannerist Movement.
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