OK. Let’s switch tracks. Modern politics is so depressing, and I’m sure we all need a metaphysical pick-me-up after thinking about Iran-Israel.
I recently got two great art books for my birthday, and when I tell you that one of them was full of Victorian nudes, but that it’s the other one I’m most excited about, you’ll have some idea of how good it is! 😉
I’m talking about the best book I’ve ever seen on the art of Sir Edward Everett Millais. The book is simply entitled “Millais,” by Jason Rosenfeld and Alison Smith. (Get it here, at an amazing price, from Amazon.)
Millais first came to my attention because he created some remarkable works of historical art. My favorite of these is Huguenot Lovers, which depicts an intimate moment during the St.Bartholomew’s Day massacre of the religious civil wars in France. The French Protestants, known as “Huguenots,” were to be massacred this day, by order of the royal family. Catholics were to be safely identified by the white armbands they wore.
In Millais’s depiction of a great conflict of values related to this episode, a woman attempts to fasten a white band onto the arm of her lover, who, while embracing her, prevents her from doing so.
In the words of the poet, Richard Lovelace, “I could not love thee, Dear, so much, Loved I not Honour more.“
Also worth a look: John Everett Milais, Beyond the Pre-Raphaelist Brotherhood. It’s has a more limited thesis, and does not offer the same comprehensive presentation as the Rosenfeld-Smith book, but it’s still nice. Also, if you can find it, Sir John Everett Millais by Geoffroy Millais has been a happy component of my collection. It’s older, so the reproductions are not quite as sharp, however.
For more information about Millais, you can also take in a post I wrote about another one of his works, The Boyhood of Sir Walter Raleigh over at HistoryAtOurHouse.
This artist is fighting for a place in my top five favorite painters of all time! Find out why, by picking up the amazing Rosenfeld-Smith book!