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Millais, Sir John Everett (1829-1896)
Autumn LeavesDate: 1856
Technique: Oil on canvas
Museum: Manchester Art Gallery
Location: Manchester, UK
Autumn Leaves (1856) is a painting by John Everett Millais exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856. It was described by the critic John Ruskin as "the first instance of a perfectly painted twilight." Millais's wife Effie wrote that he had intended to create a picture that was "full of beauty and without a subject".
The picture depicts four girls in the twilight collecting and raking together fallen leaves in a garden. They are making a bonfire, but the fire itself is invisible, only smoke emerging from between the leaves. The two girls on the left are portrayed in middle class clothing of the era; the two on the right are in rougher, working class clothing.
The painting has been seen as one of the earliest influences on the development of the aesthetic movement.
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