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John Everett Millais. (1829 - 1896). Ophelia. (1852).



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John Everett Millais.(1829 - 1896). Ophelia. (1852) Oil on Canvas. (76 x 112 cm).

John Everett Millais is a Pre-Raphaelite English painter. The Pre-Raphaelism is the fruit of the meeting between Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt in the Royal Académy of London. These painters, taking as a starting point the first painters of the rebirth (before Raphaël) want to give a dimension symbolic and morals to paintings. The style is realistic, with much details, the colors are sharp and even strident. 
Ophelia is a heroin of the tragedy in 5 acts, Hamlet, of William Shakespeare written in 1601.
Ophelia is in love with Hamlet but this romantic idyll turns badly. Hamlet to simulate the madness rejects her and by accident murder her father Polonius. Ophelia becomes insane and drowns in a river. At the time of the burial, Hamlet leans on the body of its beloved and cries her death, ultimate proof of its love. The tragic destiny of Ophelia inspired many painters. The picture represents Ophelia absorbed by a dark water among the flowers and a luxuriant nature this painting obtains an enormous success immediately.

The point of view of the observer is located at the level of the stock. The model is in lower part. The composition underlines the depression of Ophelia in water and darkness.

Ophelia is positioned on the lower tension field between 2 natural points of interest. Nature in all its luxuriance is located on the higher tension field, it also between 2 natural points of interest. Rare thing the 4 natural points are used, this can divert the spectator at the beginning which does not know exactly where to fix its glance. 
3 zones are well delimited : The river sinks which is used as coffin in Ophelia. 
2 clear zones in top and bottoms, consisted nature, which are used as a casket at the body of the young girl. The painting functions as an open box which lets appear a corpse which still floats but which is inserted. 

The principal guiding lines go in the same direction, the direction of the current, the right-hand side towards the left, symbolically towards the past, since in Ophelia fact does not have any more future. 

The artist worked with a great concern of the detail and precision. All the elements of this shrub, sheets, flowers and branches, were carried out in a realistic way. 

The face is not frightened, the eyes are open, Ophelia is still alive but it seems to be given up with its fate. 

The young girl holds in her hand a bunch of flowers which it has gathered, a little as a funeral wreath. The majority of the flowers which are on its dress died and desiccated, disastrous predicts… 

On this stock of tree which seems to lean on Ophelia to take it, the inextricable tangle of the branches is represented with realism and meticulousness. 

Light : The light comes from the right-hand side it concentrates on the face and the body of Ophelia like on the bank with foreground. 

Colors : Harmonize and Contrasts.
Contrast between hot and cold colors.

Similar Paintings :

Alexandre Cabanel. Ophelia. (1883). 
French painter, (1823 - 1889), it is one of academic great painters the. He practices the painting of kind, the portrait and historical painting. In the course of time it evolves to romantic topics, of which Ophelia. The painting is traditional, very realistic, Ophelia is of face and seems to be given up with its fate in a beam of light. 

John William Waterhouse. (1849 - 1917). Ophelia. (1894).

Pre-Raphaelite and neo-classic English painter it takes as a starting point the mythology and the literature to represent beautiful young women in bucolic or dreamy attitudes. Very often the death of Ophelia was represented by an young woman at the edge of water gathering flowers. The topic of death is approached indirectly and in way symbolic system. 

Henry Nelson O' Neil. (1817-1880). Ophelia. (1874).
British painter it practices the painting of kind and the painting of history.
He belongs to “Clicks” a group of painter who in years 1840 meets to discuss and criticize works of their contemporaries. They are opposed to Pre-Raphaelite and O' Neil is most virulent of all, the attacker in its writings and satyric works. However it approaches here a topic which is expensive to them. The painting is much more traditional, the composition is rigorous, the young girl is centered, the colors of surrounding nature are not sharp, the clear colors are reserved for the model.