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the origins of boho-chic



A drowning madwoman may seem to be a strange fashion muse (though then again…), but few paintings have launched as many trends as Millais’ Ophelia. From the great icons of hippie beauty to yesterday’s ethereal Prada outing, Millais’ particularly dreamy aesthetic has influenced fashion more than almost any other single artist. As the founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, his visions of lovely, sad girls in mythic settings have come to define an ideal of English beauty. But none of his images have adorned as many dorm-room walls or sparked as many style statements as his painting of artist and model Elizabeth Siddal, which will be on display in Millais, opening today at Tate Britain. It’s the first major solo survey of the British artist’s work since 1967, and the first exhibition since 1898 to examine his entire career—which means that we could very well see long locks and flowing dresses at the next round of shows. For more information, see

Sir John Everette Millais, Ophelia (1851-1852), © Tate

Dept. of Culture