The “Sinking Painting” is an oil painting of Ophelia singing, while floating down a river, before she drowns. Guess that is why they called it Sinking!

The “Sinking Painting” is always genuine.

Once you take a moment to get over how sad the painting is, take it up to Blathers. He’ll hang it in your museum between the Nice Painting and the Common Painting, and provide a plaque that reads as follows:

Ophelia – John Everett Millais, 1852

Oil on canvas

Ophelia is a tragic figure in the Shakespearean play “Hamlet.” There is an otherworldly expression on her face as she lies unconscious in a river. She is surrounded by the beauty of nature as she floats between life and death.

As usual, it’s a little difficult to make out the details of the painting from the screenshot, so here is what the painting actually looks like:

Ophelia - John Everett Millais

Original Painting, Source Wikipedia

The scene depicts Ophelia’s death in Hamlet, as described by Gertrude, and it is not one usually shown on stage:

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Act 4 scene 7

Although written very lovely, it’s still very sad. The painting is also very lovely, even if depicting something sad. As with most artists – it wasn’t really well received initially, but later would come to be highly admired and inspire many other artists.

If you want to see it in person, you’ll have to head over to the Tate in the UK where it is currently hanging.

Looking for more information on the art in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Check out the master list of all the art available!

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