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Masterpieces of Tate Britain

Tate Britain

Masterpieces of Tate Britain

Tate Britain houses a significant and large collection of the art of  British art from 1500 to the present day and has large holdings of the works of J. M. W. Turner, who bequeathed all his own collection to the nation.

Masterpieces of Tate Britain

      • “Christ in the House of His Parents” by John Everett Millais
        • “Christ in the House of His Parents” by John Everett Milla depicts the Holy Family in Joseph’s carpentry workshop. The painting centres on the young Jesus who has cut his hand while assisting Joseph in his workshop. The composition has a plethora of symbolism representing the theological aspects of this religious subject. The most interesting aspect of this painting was how controversial it was when it was first exhibited. It received many negative reviews, because of its realistic depiction of a carpentry workshop, especially the dirt and wood shavings on the floor.

John Everett Millais - Christ in the House of His Parents

      • “Ophelia” by John Everett Millais
        • “Ophelia” by John Everett Millais depicts Ophelia, a character in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet; the scene is described in a speech by Queen Gertrude. Ophelia is singing while floating in a river in Denmark before she drowns. This Pre-Raphaelite work was not highly regarded when first exhibited at the Royal Academy, but has since come to be admired and influential for its beauty and its detailed and accurate depiction.

John everett millais, ofelia,

      • “The Lady of Shalott” by John William Waterhouse
        • The Lady of Shalott” by John William Waterhouse portrays the ending of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1832 poem of the same name. The scene shows the plight of a young woman from Arthurian legend, who yearned with unrequited love for the knight Sir Lancelot but was isolated under a curse in a tower near King Arthur’s Camelot. The Lady of Shalott was forbidden to look directly at the outside world. She was doomed to view the world through a mirror and weave what she saw into a tapestry. Her despair intensified when she saw loving couples in the far distance. One day she saw Sir Lancelot passing on his way in the reflection of her mirror, and she was overcome with desire and dared to look out at Camelot, bringing about the curse. The lady decided to face her destiny and escaped by boat, to sail to Camelot and her inevitable death.

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott

      • “Youth on the Prow, and Pleasure at the Helm” by William Etty
        • “Youth on the Prow, and Pleasure at the Helm” by William Etty was inspired by a metaphor in Thomas Gray’s poem “The Bard”. In the poem, the rule of a monarch was compared to a gilded ship whose occupants are unaware of an approaching storm. Etty chose to illustrate the metaphor by depicting a golden boat filled with and surrounded by nude and near-nude figures. The nude figure above the boat, representing Zephyrus, the Greek mythological personification of the west wind, blowing on the sails. Another nude representing Pleasure, lies on a large bouquet of flowers, loosely holding the helm of the boat and allowing Zephyr’s breeze to dictate its course. The naked figures were intended to express the themes of sexual appetites entrapping innocent youth, and the sexual power women hold over men.

Youth on the Prow, and Pleasure at the Helm” by William Etty 

      • “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood” by John Singer Sargent
        • Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood” by John Singer Sargent show the famous impressionist master Claude Monet at Giverny together with Alice Hoschedé, whom Monet had befriended and who was to become his second wife. Monet is sitting at an easel painting a landscape outdoors, doing what he advocated, painting directly from nature. In the 1880s, Sargent attended the Impressionist exhibitions, and he began to paint outdoors in the plein-air manner after visiting Claude Monet at his home in the village of Giverny. This painting reflects Claude Monet’s influence on Sargent who purchased four Monet works for his personal collection.

Sargent Monet Painting

      • “Love Locked Out” by Anna Lea Merritt
        • Love Locked Out” by Anna Lea Merritt is the artist’s best-known work, and in memory of her late husband, who died in 1877, just three months after their wedding. Cupid, the mythology god of love, is shown here trying to force open the door of a mausoleum. Merritt feared the subject of her painting would be misinterpreted. She wrote in her memoir: “I feared people liked it as a symbol of forbidden love, while my Love was waiting for the door of death to open and the reunion of the lonely pair”. The depiction of the male nude by a female artist was controversial in late nineteenth-century London. Merrit received favourable reviews by choosing to paint a child and not an adult. Children, she believed, were less conscious of nudity.

Anna Lea Merritt-Love locked out

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Photo Credit: By Eric Ferrari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons