Bubbles Painter Washed Up No Longer

Britain's Tate plans retrospective on soapy artist Millais
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2007 2:42 PM CDT
Tony Blair Visits Tate Britain   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – London's Tate Britain gallery is trying to rescue the cred of a Victorian painter whose best known work is synonymous with crass commercialism. Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais is best known for Bubbles, which he sold to the Pears Soap company to make it one of the most reproduced images in the history of art.

A Tate curator says Millais' lathery collusion is far from a stain—in fact, it makes him "a pioneer in mass reproduction of art." Other paintings in the Tate's new exhibition will include Ophelia, depicting the suicide of Hamlet's lover, and an erotic portrait of Millais's 14-year-old sister-in-law.