Ophelia (1851-52) by John Millais

Ophelia - John Millais - 1851 - 1852

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Artwork Information

ArtistJohn Millais
Date1851 - 1852
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions76 x 112 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationTate Britain, London, UK

About Ophelia

The artwork “Ophelia” by John Millais was created between 1851 and 1852 and is an oil on canvas painting. It measures 76 by 112 centimeters and belongs to the Romanticism movement, specifically characterized as a literary painting. This renowned piece is part of the collection at Tate Britain, London, UK.

The artwork portrays a woman, Ophelia, floating in a natural body of water surrounded by lush greenery and flora. Her body is depicted in a state of gentle repose, resting on the water’s surface as if surrendering to the gentle embrace of the stream. The water cradles her form while her hands are gently lifted above, and her face is turned towards the sky, with eyes closed and lips parted slightly. Her attire, a richly embroidered gown, appears heavy and soaked, dragging her down, and is adorned with vivid flowers that match the blossoms scattered around her. The setting conveys a detailed and realistic portrayal of nature, with wildflowers and plants meticulously painted, capturing the serenity and isolation of the moment. This tragic figure, taken from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” encapsulates the themes of beauty, nature, and death, which are persistent motifs in Romantic works. The use of color and light, as well as the intricacy of the natural elements, contribute to the overall evocative and melancholic mood of the piece.

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