Cymon and Iphigenia

LL 10336


The story of Cimon (or Cymon) and Iphigenia was originally told in 'The Decameron' by Boccaccio. Millais’s source though, was the version by the 17th-century English poet, John Dryden. The poem described the aristocratic but boorish Cymon who had been banished by his family to live in the country as a rustic, and his love for the distant and refined Iphigenia. Millais was only 18 years of age when he began the painting, and it was the last major canvas he worked on before he embraced Pre-Raphaelitism with his friends, Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Hunt assisted him with Iphigenia’s dress but Millais was already dissatisfied with the picture and vowed he could do something much better. The outcome was 'Isabella', now in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.