John Everett Millais (born June 8, 1829 died August 13, 1896) is a daring 19th century artist, child prodigy, one of the inspirers of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Millet’s paintings are known to many connoisseurs of painting all over the world.
John Millet and his work were perceived ambiguously by his contemporaries. Biblical stories have sometimes drawn sharp criticism. Not obeying the recognized canons, the master strove for a detailed drawing of everyday scenes, nature and people, which aroused great interest of the audience and achieved reverence. He became one of the most famous painters of the 19th century.
Biography of John Millet
John Millais was born on the coast of southern England, in Southampton, on June 8, 1829. Living in an ancient city, the boy began to paint early. When he was nine, his parents became convinced of their son’s talent and moved to the capital to give the child the opportunity to study painting.
Martin Archer Shee, who headed the Royal Academy at that time, after looking at the boy’s drawings, helped him to enter a prestigious educational institution. Thanks to his natural talent and diligence, already in 1840, 11-year-old John Millet was enrolled in the academy. Six years of study was marked by participation in numerous exhibitions, incentive medals and awards. In 1846, the scene “Pizarro Captures the Peruvian Incas” won critical acclaim for the Summer Academic Exhibition.
But over time, traditional painting began to seem boring to the young man, devoid of life. The turning point can be called 1848, when John Millet became friends with Gabriel Rossetti, and a little later with William Holman Hunt. Sharing the views of each other, they established the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The name meant that young people write according to the canons that existed before Raffaello Santi and Michelangelo Buonarroti. The Florentine painters of the early Renaissance period Giovanni Bellini, Pietro Perugino and others became the model for the “brothers”.
One of the master’s first paintings, “Christ in the parental home”, became scandalously famous.
The everyday realism of the holy family’s activities angered connoisseurs of the canonical style. The famous writer Charles Dickens opposed this manner. John Millais was supported by renowned critic John Ruskin. He was able to discern the enormous talent of the young man and did not consider that careful detailing was unacceptable in the depiction of biblical characters.
Due to the constant striving for excellence, the art of a young man was early recognized by his compatriots. He received the title of academician at the age of 24. Then the artist fell in love with the wife of his benefactor and after the scandalous divorce of the Ruskin couple, he married her. Responsibility to his family, the birth of children greatly influenced him. The master created a large number of portraits of famous figures, landscapes in order to be able to maintain his house.
John Millet himself was deeply worried about his own renunciation of the views of the Pre-Raphaelites, he considered some portraits a complete disaster for himself. But the new career provided him with immense popularity, fortune, the title of baronet, and in 1896 the place of president of the Royal Academy of Arts. The painter died six months later, on August 13, 1896, from throat cancer. He lived for only 67 years. In 1904, after eight years, a monument was erected to the artist in front of the academy.