"The Royal Academy Exhibition." Builder 1 Jun. 1850, 255-256.


In contravention to all the accepted precepts and purposes of art, Mr. J. E. Millais has produced an adaptation from a text from Zechariah, absonantly intended to represent "The Holy Family." So much has already been said in censure of the perversion of great ability, here shewn,–the affectation of endeavouring to present nature not as she is usually, but by effecting the most literal depiction of the most ill-adapted models, characterized by, it must be allowed, not singular discrepancies and deformities, and hyperbolizing certain life-like incongruous characteristics, without in the least degree endeavouring to idealize, in order to impress the notion of "truth,"–that further comment would seem ungenerous.

The theory of the newly-constituted school which includes Mr. Millais (The P.R.B.’s, as they name themselves), if they would but practise in accordance, is excellent, and might be made productive of most important results, for it is not to be denied that "intention," simplicity, and attention to particular form, are considerations not sufficiently felt in our fine-art world. But this painful display of anatomical knowledge, and studious vulgarity of portraying the youthful Saviour as a red-headed Jew boy, and the sublime personage of the virgin a sore-heeled, ugly, every-day sempstress, will in no way tend to the "consummation so devoutly to be wished." The execution of the objective part of this misconception is unexceptionable–witness the grain the extraordinary depiction of shavings. If the artist will adhere to this manner, there are other subject s more fitted to his love of, and great power in, imitation, requiring less refinement and appreciation of the lovable. We would suggest "The Pool of Bethesda."

(533) "A Converted British Family sheltering a Christian Missionary from the persecution of the Druids." W. H. Hunt. Another P.R.B., whose good drawing and other qualifications to become great in his profession are counterbalanced by the plagiarism from the "babies in art" to which they adhere.

This document was scanned/transcribed from the original source.

Copyright © 1999 Thomas J. Tobin.

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