Art and Ideas

  • W. B. Yeats


Two days ago I was at the Tate Gallery to see the early Millais’s, and before his Ophelia, as before the Mary Magdalene and Mary of Galilee of Rossetti that hung near, I recovered an old emotion. I saw these pictures as I had seen pictures in my childhood. I forgot the art criticism of friends and saw wonderful, sad, happy people, moving through the scenery of my dreams. The painting of the hair, the way it was smoothed from its central parting, something in the oval of the peaceful faces, called up memories of sketches of my father’s on the margins of the first Shelley I had read, while the strong colours made me half remember studio conversations, words of Wilson, or of Potter perhaps, praise of the primary colours, heard, it may be, as I sat over my toys or a child’s story-book. One picture looked familiar, and suddenly I remembered it had hung in our house for years. It was Potter’s Field Mouse. I had learned to think in the midst of the last phase of Pre-Raphaelitism and now I had come to Pre-Raphaelitism again and rediscovered my earliest thought. I murmured to myself, 1 This thought, which seemed a discovery, was old enough. Balzac derides in a story a certain Pierre Grassou who attained an immense popularity by painting a Chouan rebel going to his death.


Primary Colour Happy People Strong Colour Religious Idea Early Thought 
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Copyright information

© Mrs W. B. Yeats 1961

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  • W. B. Yeats

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