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 Sir John Everett Millais  (1829 - 1896)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England      Known for: figure, genre painting

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John Everett Millais is primarily known as Sir John Everett Millais

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

John Millais was born into an affluent middle class family in Southampton, England. He became the youngest pupil ever at the Royal Academy Schools when he arrived there at the age of eleven and he was the youngest to complete the course five years later. Technically he was extremely competent and was the star pupil, but he was criticized for lacking a certain breadth of imagination and vision, which is ironic given his future as a Pre-Raphaelite.

John Millais was a member of the original group of Pre-Raphaelites; he and the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti were among the youngest members since they were barely out of their teens. Although he was only twenty-three, he had to leave the Brotherhood to make more money to support a rapidly increasing family. His painting Ophelia, was considered the masterpiece of the movement. John Ruskin, art writer and critic and sometime painter, came out for the Brotherhood and became friends with Millais. Ruskin was married to a beautiful and socially ambitious woman, Euphemia Gray. Euphemia and Millais fell in love and after a sensationally publicized divorce, married.

For the 1851 Royal Academy Exhibition Millais produced three paintings, one of which proved a great success and laid the foundation for his election to become an Associate of the Academy in November 1853, at age twenty-four, the earliest possible age. Having started out as a young firebrand, Millais became a stalwart establishment figure, even becoming a baronet, always faithful to the dictates of the Royal Academy. He regularly showed at Academy exhibitions and became so influential there that he was made President in 1896, the same year that he died.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
John Canaday in Smithsonian Magazine
From the internet, the

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