Stirred by the spirituality and yearning in Mendelssohn's song 'Ruhetal', here Millais's theme is death, signified by the presence of the grave, skull and funerary wreaths, and in the intense and solemn colours of a graveyard touched with the last rays of a setting sun. Viewers are invited to contemplate their own mortality through the preparation of the new grave in the foreground and the nun who gazes out towards them. Despite the pain and sadness in death, the title offers hope that it will bring repose from life's cares and an infinite contentment.


  • Title: The Vale of Rest
  • Creator: Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
  • Date Created: 1858
  • Provenance: Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
  • Physical Dimensions: w1727 x h1029 mm
  • Original Title: The Vale of Rest
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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