The Blind Girl, painted by John Everett Millais in 1856, is a classic example of the Pre-Raphaelite style. The painting depicts two beggar sisters who are resting by the roadside after a bout of rain. One of them is blind and plays the concertina as she begs for sustenance. The elder sister has to lead her around and relies on her musical talent to survive.
Although visually powerful, some argue that this masterpiece manipulatively targets the viewers’ emotions, with the tag note “PITY THE BLIND” written over the blind girl’s dress. It might seem overly sentimental, but it carries an allegorical relevance as well. The painting encourages audiences to contrast their experiences with those of visually impaired individuals and how they manage without their sight.
Millais began working on The Blind Girl after visiting Winchelsea in Sussex in 1854, where he had started painting his first landscape sketches for this masterpiece. Today, it remains one of his finest works that showcases his skillful techniques with light and shadow.
Overall, through its sublime artwork and somber tale exhibited through oil paints on canvas artwork medium; The Blind Girl occupies a primordial position amongst other masterpieces produced by John Everett Millais within his career span as one of Britain’s finest art engravers who helped forge the path towards modernism within Western Art history.