|Links with photography
Photography was invented in 1839, 12 years before Millais painted Ophelia.
Photos were not as clear as they are today however.
Photographs by the artist Julia Margaret Cameron (currently showing at the
National Portrait Gallery
until 26th May 2003) were in sepia and hazy around the edges.
In Beata Beatrix by Rossetti, (1864-70), the blurred radiating effect
of the background is thought to have been inspired by Cameron's work.
Her soft focus images were in turn inspired by the poetic nature of Rossetti's
paintings. Read more about Beata
Beatrix in the Working Practice section.
Millais's detailed Ophelia surpassed what photography
was able to achieve at this time and was a unique way of representing the natural
world. Today a photograph can show as much detail as Millais's Ophelia,
so rather than producing detailed realistic paintings some artists look at other
ways of expressing themselves and the world around them.