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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Blow Blow Thou Wind” by John Everett Millais

John Everett Millais - Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind

“Blow Blow Thou Wind” by John Everett Millais

“Blow Blow Thou Wind” by John Everett Millais depicts a winter landscape with a hapless dog at the center, with divided loyalty between the stranded mother with her child, and the man who is walking away. Which will the loyal dog pick?

The mother is seated on a rock in the snow. She has her shawl pulled over her head to keep the wind and cold from her child as it feeds. In the distance, the child’s father is walking away.

The poem below provides a clue. Is the man abandoning the family of going ahead to search for food and shelter?

The title comes from one of Shakespeare’s poems in “As You Like It”:

Blow Blow thou winter wind

Thou art not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude…

…Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.

The artist, Sir John Everett Millais, was a Victorian-era English painter who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded at his home in London. Millais became a famous exponent of the style, his painting Christ in the House of His Parents.

By the mid-1850s, Millais was moving away from the Pre-Raphaelite style. He had developed a new and powerful form of realism in his art. His fascination with landscapes and with wild and bleak locations is also evident in the many landscape paintings of his later period, which usually depict difficult terrain during the winter like this painting.

Blow Blow Thou Wind

  • Title:                       Blow Blow Thou Wind
  • Artist:                     John Everett Millais
  • Medium:                Oil on canvas
  • Date:                      1892
  • Style:                      Realism
  • Genre:                    Landscape
  • Dimensions:          108 × 155 cm (42.5 × 61 in)
  • Museum:               Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

John Everett Millais

A Tour of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Exploring Pre-Raphaelite Artists

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“All great art is the work of the whole living creature, body and soul, and chiefly of the soul.”
– John Ruskin

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Photo Credit: John Everett Millais [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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