Art Collections Online


MILLAIS, Sir John Everett (1829 - 1896)


Date: 1867

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 127.0 x 162.7 cm

Acquired: 1964; Bequest; Isadore Stone

Accession Number: NMW A 180

The Israelite general Jephthah was forced to kill his only daughter after he rashly promised he would sacrifice to God the first thing he saw on his return home if he was victorious in battle.

At the Royal Academy in 1876, this painting was exhibited with the quotation 'Alas, my daughter! Thou has brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me, for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back'. (Judges XI, 35)

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Philip Danks
23 June 2020, 03:34
Thanks to Stan Mitchell for clarifying the actuality of Jephthah's daughter's sacrifice. I'd like to see this impassioned painting when I next come to Wales, and others by John Everett Millais in the Tate galleries. Maybe next year when, hopefully, international travel restrictions will be eased.
27 May 2019, 13:27
Who is the woman sharing (with the daughter) the centre of the picture?
[ I presume the woman being comforted on the right, is the mother? ]
Stan Mitchell
5 June 2016, 11:17
This is an excellent work of art but it should be noted that the scriptures do not actually support this literal interpretation of Jepthah's words. The God of Israel detested human sacrifice and the Bible explains that the daughters of Israel went to commiserate with Jepthah's daughter for four days of every year after the event, weeping with her over her virginity. Clearly her life spent in service at the tabernacle was the symbolic 'burnt sacrifice' that Jepthah promised his God. This should be made clear in the description as Bible scholars may wish to verify this for themselves.
30 July 2009, 09:09
This is absolutely my favourite piece in the museum and is a beautiful pre-Raphaelite painting. The emotions are so wonderfully detailed on each characters face. I always start each trip to the museum by re-visiting this painting.
11 May 2009, 09:16
what a beautiful piece! i felt really touched when i saw it and hope that i\'ll be back in Wales soon to watch it again. a rather perfect structural harmony between characters, colors and ligth. so nice!
7 January 2009, 10:06
I have actually seen this piece in Cardiff, and it is an amazing example of pre-Raphaelite art which tells a very intricate story with several different moods and classes of people within one painting. I just hope I go back soon enough to see it again, because I think that overall, this is my favourite painting
paul booth
1 October 2008, 10:16
why not?
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