John Everett Millais: The Blind Girl, 1856, Oil on canvas

John Everett Millais: The Blind Girl, 1856, Oil on canvas

10/2/2021, 11:51:01 AM
John Everett Millais: The Blind Girl, 1856, Oil on canvas, 62.2 x 82.6 cm, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, England #JohnEverettMillais #BlindGirl #Art #Paintings #Painters #Arthistory #PreRaphaelites #pittore #pittura #pintor #pintura #peintre #peinture #romantic #masterpiece #masters #Englishart #painting Empathy permeates John Everett Millais's The Blind Girl. In creating this painting, Millais means the viewer immediately to recognize both the intense beauty of the scenery in the work and the intense unfairness of the melancholy situation of its central figure, the blind beggar girl. Despite her handicap, this girl struggles on in life and even appears responsible for her younger, seeing companion, who grasps her hand tightly while in her lap and leans back into her chest with familiarity. In the older girl's lap too lays the accordion that most likely provides the two girls' only form of income. Here, Millais does superior work integrating not only the figures and their background but also the natural with the seemingly supernatural. Double rainbows and such vivid colors as Millais makes use of in this painting exist only rarely in nature. Here then, Millais intends the viewer of the work to experience a sense of awe at the intense and brilliant grandeur of the setting through this choice of color and through depiction of exaggerated natural phenomena. We, as viewers, may experience this along with the girl in her lap and even the goats and crows, but she cannot. Perhaps Millais best represents this misfortune by placing a butterfly on the girl's shawl. A certain sense of rarity and specialness in this occurrence leads the viewer again to recognize the terrible situation of the girl's blindness. The butterfly lies close to her physically, yet she cannot appreciate or even have awareness of its presence and beauty. The tiny detail, then, represents the theme and emotions inherent in Millais's painting as a whole. Sublime splendor surrounds this girl and is even embodied by her physical attractiveness yet, for her, all of this will remain beyond conception.

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