John Everett Millais artist

We look at another artist who contributed to the publications ‘Good Words’ which we considered in the previous chapter. #JohnEverettMillais (1829-1896) was a regular contributor to the artworks for the magazine over a number of years. His commission to produce 20 designs to portray the parables from the bible by the #DalzielBrothers became for him a work from the heart and nothing less than utter beauty and near perfection could be enough. We will only consider a few of them. It took Millais seven years to complete the commission. He illustrated each parable with close to a dozen different images for each before deciding on his preferred choice. After finishing his chosen drawing he would then transfer it onto a prepared woodblock and give it to the Dalziels to be carved. They would be pressed and Millais would then inspect and make any alterations he thought necessary. Twelve of the woodcuts appear in ‘Good Words’ for 1863. I also have a complete set found in ‘Art Pictures from the Old Testament and Our Lord’s Parables’ published around 1900. As one considers them, one cannot doubt the great effort and consideration which went into them. Beautifully rendered by the Dalzeils, one can sense a depth beyond just an image. There is an emotional depth imbued into each portrayal.Through this depth we join in the searching for the lost coin, we feel the pain of the beaten man, the empathy of the Good Samaritan, the elation and fear of the man who found a treasure which he hides in the ground until he can buy the field, and the over-whelming joy of the father at the return of his child in the prodigal son. One is confronted with the realisation that these images were special – something important to the artist. They were created by body and soul. There can be nothing else said.

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