The Eve Of St Agnes (1863) by John Millais

The Eve Of St Agnes - John Millais - 1863

Artwork Information

TitleThe Eve Of St Agnes
ArtistJohn Millais
Dimensions10 5/8 x 12 1/4 in
Current LocationAshmolean Museum, Oxford

About The Eve Of St Agnes

John Everett Millais was an English painter who became famous for his Pre-Raphaelite style of artwork. One of his well-known paintings is The Eve of St Agnes, which he completed in 1863. This painting shows a beautiful woman undressing for bed on the night where she might see her future husband in her dreams as depicted in John Keats’ poem.

The subject matter is based on a popular narrative poem by Keats titled The Eve of St. Agnes. Millais chose to prioritize the visible scene he was creating over the words of the source, adhering to a nineteenth-century version of the Renaissance paragone. The painting caused controversy due to its realism and is notable for its creation during a time when artists sought out romantic and dreamy themes.

Millais used bright colors that contrasted each other; some colors were used sparingly while others featured heavily throughout this painting. The artist’s skillful technique created an illusionary quality that blurred boundaries between reality and fiction. Moreover, Millais also produced other notable works such as Ophelia in 1851-52, which made him stand out among other painters during his time.

In conclusion, John Everett Millais’s iconic work ‘The Eve Of St Agnes’ reflects what an outstanding exponent he had become concerning Pre-Raphaelite artistry that centered around vivid descriptions and idealized portrayals inspired by medievalism or folklore themes present throughout his oeuvre.

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