Happy St Valentine’s!

A copy of John Everett Millais‘ — The Huguenot, which was one of my first oil paintings that I had a bash at. I used oils on wood, though I made the mistake of diluting them too much with turps which had the effect of matting the colours — but not bad for that first attempt a few years ago. The height is about 1.5 m

Happy Valentine’s Day…

… although the above painting , however tender and sweet it may seem, might not really be so… Read on…

The Huguenot was painted by John Everett Millais in 1852. It is also known as A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge. 

The Huguenots were French Protestants who were persecuted because of their religion. This painting refers to their massacre of 3,000 Protestants in Paris (and 20,000 in the rest of France) on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. In order to protect themselves and escape the danger they had to wear white armbands, one of the Roman Catholic symbols. The rise of Protestantism in France in the sixteenth century resulted in hostility from the Catholics which eventually gave rise to a series of religious conflicts knows as The French Wars of Religion.

I think the painting speaks for itself. Though soft and sweet in its appearance, especially where the girl is devotedly tying the ‘catholic’ armband on her lover to keep him out of harm, if one analyses the painting, it is not so sweet and simple: the main colours are dark, except for the brightness of the white band, which depicts that this is the only light and hope, shining out from the surrounding darkness and uncertainty, and without this there is death. The fallen petals that lie on his shoe and on the ground indicate hopelessness and the deathly fate of their love, while the Canterbury bells signify faith and constancy…

And here is a photo of the artist himself:

John Everett Millais (England 1829-1896) Wiki

John Everett Millais was a child prodigy who, at the age of 11 was the youngest to enter the Royal Academy Schools and later was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ( a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 who painted abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian art, basing many of their themes on romanticism, nature, history, legends, stories, fables and religion).

See more of his lovely (subjective!) paintings here

One of his paintings (oil on canvas, painted in 1886) was later used as the original advert for Pears soap:-

Bubbles‘ Millais (Wiki)

Hurrah for Pre-Raphaelite paintings!… but I’m sorry that my Valentine’s Day theme had a bit of morose side to it…

Anyway, here’s to hoping that you have a nice Valentine’s Day, not forgetting that originally Valentine cards were made by children for their MOTHERS!!!

xxx

4 comentarios sobre “Happy St Valentine’s!

  1. Thank you for your encouragement!! What a romantic maiden name you had! Actually, St Valentin goes back to a Roman Christian priest , (Valentin!) who surreptitiously married couples when Christainity had been forbidden by Claudio II of Rome. As a punishment for his crimes he was subsequently beheaded despite having miraculously restored the vision to the prison judge’s blind daughter. St Valentine’s Day was first celebrated in 494 AD. (I celebrated it by digging fresh rows in my vegetable patch and sowing chard, spinach and broad beans… How romantic!)

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