Not all the difficulties critics encountered were prompted by arcane iconography, for some of the reviewers even found narrative and genre pieces hard to make out, a fact which appears with clarity in the Art-Journal's review of an untitled work by Val Prinsep at the 1863 Royal Academy exhibition. According to this periodical, the painter "evidently belongs to that company of artists called Pre-Raphaelite, and rejoices, like his brethren, in a perplexed mystery," The writer admits that such "enigmas are occasionally happy," but when he provides the example of a successful one, it is not something like Hunt's Light of the World but instead Millais's painting "involving a critical dilemma touching on a certain letter, and in the catalogue no further clue than the ambiguous words, "Trust me"". For the Art-Journal reviewer, it seemed "cruel toward the public to withhold the needed word of explanation" ("The Royal Academy," 25 [l863], 107).

Last modified 1 June 2007