Monday, March 25, 2013

St Agnes of Intercession 1850

This is the earliest known etching by Millais, originally intended for the fifth issue of the Pre-Raphaelite journal 'The Germ' but never used. The scene from a story by Rossetti shows a fifteenth century artist painting the portrait of his dying lover. Three impressions are known to date, now in The Victoria and Albert Museum, Yale Centre for British Art and this Birmingham impression, mounted beside the reversed preparatory drawing. In the transference to the etching plate, the design appears to have moved closer to Rossetti's text, open-eyed terror in the face of the young girl giving away to an expression of forced resignation to her fate.

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