Sir John Everett Millais (1829 -1896)Millais came from a well-heeled British family. He must have been very talented because already at the age of 11 years he was admitted to the "Royal Academy schools." During his studies he made friends with the artists William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and founded with them in 1848 the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood", that was to have enormous influence throughout Europe.
The Pre-Raphaelites turned mainly against the overloaded decorative painting of their time, which roots they spotted in the Renaissance and the Baroque. Therefore they tried to base their art on the late Gothic and early Renaissance. So it goes without saying that they had little interest in the monumental and patriotically flamboyant history paintings. Nevertheless history too became one of their most important themes because of their romantic interest in the Middle Ages, their preference for myths and legends.
This attitude is quite clearly evident in the paintings of Millais. Although he avoids the big spectacle, heroic and patriotic sceneries, history is also for him an appropriate medium to illustrate the problems of the present