The Ophelia Painting

who was john everett millais?

He influenced art styles like Art Deco, Art Nouveau, as well as prominent artists like Vincent van Gogh and James Abbot McNeill Whistler.

historical overview

The Ophelia painting was exhibited in 1852 at the Royal Academy of Arts and received a variety of responses, some criticisms, and some praises.

formal analysis of the artwork

subject matter

The main protagonist and focal point, Ophelia, is floating in a body of water. Her head is situated to the left of the composition, and her feet face towards the right-hand side.


The dominant colors in Ophelia are varieties of greens, however, Millais utilized different yellows, blues, whites, and blacks. He utilized a “lush” mixture of hues to create the tonal contrasts of color.


As rich as it is in the foliage and flowers of the natural landscape, so too is it in implied texture, which gives the illusion of the tactile appearance of the subject matter.


There is a diversity of lines in Ophelia by John Everett Millais, from the vertical lines created by the Sedge plant in the lower left foreground to the diagonal lines from the various branches and twigs.

shape & form

The Ophelia painting depicts organic shapes and forms that are found in nature versus geometric shapes and forms.


In the Ophelia painting, the vegetation in the foreground and background creates a framing effect, which places our, the viewers, attention on Ophelia in the center.