Cymon and Iphigenia
John Everett Millais 1829-96
Ink on paper, dated 1847
Accession number 2005.18
Acquired for the Lady Lever Art Gallery with the assistance of the Art Fund and Lord Leverhulme's Charitable Trust, 2005.
The beautiful maiden Iphigenia fell in love with Cymon, a handsome but coarse peasant boy. Though her friends made fun of him, she married him and he became a model husband. The story, from the Italian writer Boccaccio, is about the civilizing power of love.
The drawing is an early work, done before the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was started. It is not a preparatory study, but an independent work of art. However Millais used the subject for an oil painting, in the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Millais later re-painted parts of the oil, adding the dog, the ferns and grasses with Pre-Raphaelite detail. The drawing shows how the oil looked before it was re-touched.