The Return of the Dove to the Ark

Contributed by Ashmolean Museum

Sir John Everett Millais (1829 - 1896): The Return of the Dove to the Ark. Copyright The Ashmolean Museum.

Millias fell foul of Charles Dickens who considered his painting 'Christ in the House of His Parents' to be blasphemous.The subject of Millais' painting is from Genesis, 8: 11: where in order to ascertain whether the flood had abated, Noah sent out a dove, which returned with a sprig of olive. Here, the daughters of Noah hold the dove and the olive sprig.

Although the background is untypically dark, the details are painted with astonishing fidelity, taking to new levels the period's fashion of painting directly from nature.

The Pre-Raphaelite movement began with a small group of 'brothers' but their influence was and is far wider. This painting in particular influenced both the art critic and teacher John Ruskin and William Morris the founder of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The frame is original and includes elements appropriate to the painting: olive leaves and fruit. Painted in oil on canvas. Signed and dated: J Millais 1851. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851. Bequeathed to the Ashmolean by Mrs Thomas Combe, 1893; WA1894.8.

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