The source for this painting is Shakespeare's account of the death of Ophelia in Hamlet, Act IV Scene 7. Ophelia has been driven mad by the murder of her father by her lover Hamlet. Out picking flowers she slips and falls into a stream. In her grief and madness she allows herself to drown.
Millais spent nearly four months from July to October 1851 painting the background, on the bank of the River Hogsmill at Ewell in Surrey. He endured considerable difficulties and discomfort and the whole story of the painting of 'Ophelia' is evidence of the extraordinary dedication of the young Pre-Raphaelites to their goal of 'truth to nature'. In December Millais returned with the canvas to London, where he inserted the figure. The model was Elizabeth Siddal, who posed in a bath full of water kept warm by lamps underneath. The lamps once went out, she caught a severe cold and her father threatened Millais with legal action if he did not pay the doctor's bill.
The brilliant colour and luminosity of 'Ophelia' is the result of the Pre-Raphaelite technique of painting in pure colours onto a pure white ground. The ground was sometimes laid fresh for each day's work - the 'wet white' technique - which gave added brilliance and was used in 'Ophelia' particularly for the flowers. The picture contains dozens of different plants and flowers painted with the most painstaking botanical fidelity and in some cases charged with symbolic significance. For example, the willow, the nettle growing within its branches and the daisies near Ophelia's right hand, are associated with forsaken love, pain and innocence respectively. The poppy is a symbol of death. （原文來源http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/german/ophelia.html← 此處好像掛了）
http://arts.ucsc.edu/faculty/bierman/elsinore/women/womenPortraits.html Adolph-William Bouquereau, La Petite Ophélie (TheYoung Ophelia)
A central obstacle to affirming Ophelia's existence as an independent character is that she appears to have no past. With Hamlet, we know through exposition of his father, his childhood and his education, and we see him in relationship to old friends. However, we have none of these cues to give us a sense of Ophelia's past.
"The Play Scene in Hamlet" by Daniel Maclise ( 1842) Ophelia, Hamlet, and the court watching the "mousetrap" play-within-a-play.
亞瑟•休斯 （Arthur Hughes 1832-1915） 也是一位拉斐爾前派的美術家。有人曾這樣評價他的畫："the knife-edge between sentiment and sentimentality" 但因為明亮的用色和細緻的細節，休斯的作品並不顯得感傷。這是他的兩幅Ophelia
休斯筆下的奧菲莉亞纖弱優美，宛若林澤女神‧畫框上有這樣的題詩： "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts. There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue for you; and here's some for me: we may call it herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end,--" From Act IV, Scene V of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, printed on the frame of Arthur Hughes' painting Ophelia.
http://www.essentialart.com/acatalog/Arthur_Hughes_Ophelia_1865.html Ophelia and He Will Not Come Again, 1865 Location: Toledo Museum of Art, Toldeo, Ohio, USA 休斯描述奧菲莉亞臨死前，她正接近湖面，回眸張望，唱著她的最後一首歌： 'Ophelia (sings) And will he not come again? And will he not come again? No, no he is dead Go to thy death-bed He never will come again. His beard was as white as snow, All flaxen was his poll: He is gone, he is gone, And we cast away moan; Gramercy on his soul! And of all Christian souls, I pray God - God be wi' you.
渥特豪斯 John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) British painter, often considered a member of the pre-Raphaelites. Waterhouse used many beautiful models to create the images of his femme fatales.
'There is a willow grows aslant the brook, That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream; There with fantastic garlands did she come. Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples. There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds Clambering to hang an envious sliver broke. When down the weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook.' - Queen Gertrude. Hamlet. Act IV, Scene VII.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_-_The_First_Madness_of_Ophelia.JPG The First Madness of Ophelia , 1864 Dante Gabriel Rossetti About the painting: The character of Shakespeare's tragic Ophelia, driven mad by Hamlet's rejection of her love and his killing of her father, had special resonance for Rossetti. In the early 1850s Rossetti made a number of sketches of Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia, and in c.1856 she herself wrote a poem - A Year and A Day - in which she identified herself with the drowning Ophelia, whose destiny is ..a sadder dream.
The title suggests Ophelia's first appearance in the scene from Shakespeare's play showing her madness.