This shatteringly beautiful piece by the Pre-Raphaelite master John Everett Millais was produced during the middle years of the Crimean War, when Britain was allied with France and others against the Russian Empire. This was the first war to be photographed, the war that transformed Florence Nightingale into a national symbol; its toll in human suffering was widely recognized at the time. The painting's English title, "The Random Shot," stresses the senseless of warfare. The child subject, the physical injury to her right hand symbolizing the deeper injury of having been rendered fatherless, is shown to participate in the suffering of war as much as the men fighting it; she is thus "the child of the regiment."
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, PRA was an English painter and illustrator who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was a child prodigy who, aged eleven, became the youngest student to enter the Royal Academy Schools.