Another morning, a ten years old child is coming out of her boarding school chapel, a 20 to 30 meters long corridor with many piano rooms at the right-hand side on her way back the classroom. Before entering to the hallway, there was a poster of “Ophelia” By John Everett Millais, and there she stares at the painting. Standing right in front of it, the longer she looked, the more she felt in love with it.

Not knowing much about the painting but every so often she will go back and look at it. There she started thinking:

“A young lady with a delicate white skin is floating on the riverbank in an English countryside. The refreshing spring, green and earth scenery, a peaceful feeling that may bring from only by the hand of Mother Nature. The artist chose a vivid colour in showing the fine sunny day. I do not know the reason in which or why she was floating on a river. She looked lost, but the composition of the print gave me a strange feeling of calmness or even a beautiful harmony. From looking into the details of her expression, she was not in any way calm but lost. Her lip was open, may be speaking or trying to reach for air. Her hands were spending out under the river, as she was ready for one to take her away from her lost. Her garland floating was right next to her.

The artist used the colour of red, the only hue colour in the painting. Floating fallen leafs at the right-hand side on top of the river. Where from far it looks, as it was part of the dress she was wearing, look deeper into the painting, sinking into the water.”

Now, from knowing a bit more about the painting and it’s history. The symbolism or the iconic message one may take it. From the arts, writing and visual languages, all had their ways of composition meanings. Was it right to notice there was the balance of
The beginning and the end; The dark and the light; The old and the new. Spring as the start of the year with the same moment of Ophelia’s life ends.

Was this the messages Millais was trying to communicate to his audience? Painted with accurate realism method, it is a masterpiece of art, visually compelling! One should find it hard to take its eyes off it!

The little ten years old girl from China didn’t, and this is where she started her journey in the arts. Now she sees this as a memory she may never forget, the first-year she was away from home.

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