William Holman Hunt
William Holman Hunt
2 April 1827
|Died||7 September 1910 83) (aged|
William Holman Hunt(2 April 1827 – 7 September 1910) was an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, vivid colour, and elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, according to whom the world itself should be read as a system of visual signs. For Hunt it was the duty of the artist to reveal the correspondence between sign and fact. Of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He was always keen to maximise the popular appeal and public visibility of his works.
Born at Cheapside, City of London, as William Hobman Hunt, to warehouse manager William Hunt (1800–1856) and Sarah (c. 1798–1884), daughter of William Hobman, of RotherhitheHunt adopted the name "Holman" instead of "Hobman" when he discovered that a clerk had misspelled the name that way after his baptism at the Anglican church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Ewell. The Hobman family were wealthy, and it was thought that Sarah had made an unequal marriage. After eventually entering the Royal Academy art schools, having initially been rejected, Hunt rebelled against the influence of its founder Sir Joshua Reynolds. He formed the Pre-Raphaelite movement in 1848, after meeting the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Along with John Everett Millais they sought to revitalise art by emphasising the detailed observation of the natural world in a spirit of quasi-religious devotion to truth. This religious approach was influenced by the spiritual qualities of medieval art, in opposition to the alleged rationalism of the Renaissance embodied by Raphael. He had many pupils including Robert Braithwaite Martineau.
Hunt married twice. After a failed engagement to his model Annie Miller, in 1861 he married Fanny Waugh, who later modelled for the figure of Isabella. When, at the end of 1866, she died in childbirth in Italy, he sculpted her tomb at Fiesole, having it brought down to the English Cemetery in Florence, beside the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.He had a close connection with St. Mark's Church in Florence, and paid for the communion chalice inscribed in memory of his wife. His second wife, Edith, was Fanny's youngest sister. At the time it was illegal in Great Britain to marry one's deceased wife's sister, so the two of them travelled abroad and married at Neuchâtel (in francophone Switzerland) in November 1875. This led to a grave conflict with other family members, notably his former Pre-Raphaelite colleague Thomas Woolner, who had once been in love with Fanny and had married the middle sister, Alice Waugh.
Hunt's works were not initially successful, and were widely attacked in the art press for their alleged clumsiness and ugliness.[ citation needed ] He achieved some early note for his intensely naturalistic scenes of modern rural and urban life, such as The Hireling Shepherd and The Awakening Conscience . However, it was for his religious paintings that he became famous, initially The Light of the World (1851–1853), now in the chapel at Keble College, Oxford, England; a later version (1900) toured the world and now has its home in St Paul's Cathedral, London. Hunt worked at his home in Prospect Place (now Cheyne Walk), Chelsea, London.
In the mid-1850s Hunt travelled to the Holy Land in search of accurate topographical and ethnographical material for further religious works, and to employ his "powers to make more tangible Jesus Christ’s history and teaching";there he painted The Scapegoat , The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple , and The Shadow of Death , along with many landscapes of the region. Hunt also painted many works based on poems, such as Isabella and The Lady of Shalott . He eventually built his own house in Jerusalem.
He eventually had to relinquish painting because failing eyesight meant that he could not achieve the quality that he wanted. His last major works, including a large version of The Light of the World hanging in St.Paul's Cathedral, London, were completed with the help of his assistant, Edward Robert Hughes.
Hunt died on 7 September 1910 and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral in London.
Hunt published an autobiography in 1905.Many of his late writings are attempts to control the interpretation of his work. That year, he was appointed to the Order of Merit by King Edward VII. At the end of his life he lived in Sonning-on-Thames.
His personal life was the subject of Diana Holman-Hunt's book My Grandfather, his Life and Loves.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was depicted in two BBC period dramas. The first, The Love School , in 1975, starred Bernard Lloyd as Hunt. The second was Desperate Romantics , in which Hunt is played by Rafe Spall.
Facing Mar Elias Monastery is a stone bench erected by the wife of the painter, who painted some of his major works at this spot. The bench is inscribed with biblical verses in Hebrew, Greek, Arabic and English.
|Hunt's Claudio and Isabella, Smarthistory|
|Hunt's The Awakening Conscience, Smarthistory|
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner who formed a seven-member "Brotherhood" modelled in part on the Nazarene movement. The Brotherhood was only ever a loose association and their principles were shared by other artists of the time, including Ford Madox Brown, Arthur Hughes and Marie Spartali Stillman. Later followers of the principles of the Brotherhood included Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John William Waterhouse.
Thomas Woolner was an English sculptor and poet who was one of the founder-members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was the only sculptor among the original members.
John William Waterhouse was an English painter known for working first in the Academic style and for then embracing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's style and subject matter. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Frederic George Stephens was a British art critic, and one of the two 'non-artistic' members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Ophelia is an 1851-52 painting by British artist Sir John Everett Millais in the collection of Tate Britain, London. It depicts Ophelia, a character from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, singing before she drowns in a river.
Edward Robert Hughes was a British painter, who primarily worked in watercolours, but also produced a number of oil paintings. He was influenced by his uncle and artist, Arthur Hughes who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and worked closely with one of the Brotherhood's founders, William Holman Hunt.
The Hireling Shepherd (1851) is a painting by the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. It represents a shepherd neglecting his flock in favour of an attractive country girl to whom he shows a death's-head hawkmoth. The meaning of the image has been much debated.
The Light of the World (1851–1854) is an allegorical painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt (1827–1910) representing the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, illustrating Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me". According to Hunt: "I painted the picture with what I thought, unworthy though I was, to be divine command, and not simply a good subject." The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, representing "the obstinately shut mind". The painting was considered by many to be the most important and culturally influential rendering of Christ of its time.
The Shadow of Death is a religious painting by William Holman Hunt, on which he worked from 1870 to 1873, during his second trip to the Holy Land. It depicts Jesus as a young man prior to his ministry, working as a carpenter. He is shown stretching his arms after sawing wood. The shadow of his outstretched arms falls on a wooden spar on which carpentry tools hang, creating a "shadow of death" prefiguring the crucifixion. His mother Mary is depicted from behind, gazing up at the shadow, having been looking into a box in which she has kept the gifts given by the Magi.
The Scapegoat (1854–1856) is a painting by William Holman Hunt which depicts the "scapegoat" described in the Book of Leviticus. On the Day of Atonement, a goat would have its horns wrapped with a red cloth – representing the sins of the community – and be driven off.
The Lady of Shalott is a painting of 1888 by the English painter John William Waterhouse. It is a representation of the ending of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1832 poem of the same name. Waterhouse painted three versions of this character, in 1888, 1894 and 1915. It is one of his most famous works, which adopted much of the style of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, though Waterhouse was painting several decades after the Brotherhood split up during his early childhood.
John Rogers Herbert was an English painter who is most notable as a precursor of Pre-Raphaelitism.
The Awakening Conscience (1853) is an oil-on-canvas painting by the English artist William Holman Hunt, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which depicts a woman rising from her position in the lap of a man and gazing transfixed out of the window of a room.
Desperate Romantics is a six-part television drama serial about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, first broadcast on BBC Two between 21 July and 25 August 2009.
Dante's Inferno: The Private Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Poet and Painter (1967) is a feature-length 35 mm film directed by Ken Russell and first screened on the BBC on 22 December 1967 as part of Omnibus. It quickly became a staple in cinemas in retrospectives of Russell's work. Using nonlinear narrative technique, it tells of the relationship between the 19th-century artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his model, Elizabeth Siddal.
Found is an unfinished oil painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, now in the Delaware Art Museum. The painting is Rossetti's only treatment in oil of a contemporary moral subject, urban prostitution, and although the work remained incomplete at Rossetti's death in 1882, he always considered it one of his most important works, returning to it many times from the mid-1850s until the year before his death.
Thoughts of the Past is an oil painting on canvas by English Pre-Raphaelite artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, first exhibited in 1859 and currently housed at Tate Britain.
Rienzi vowing to obtain justice for the death of his young brother, slain in a skirmish between the Colonna and the Orsini factions is a painting by William Holman Hunt, produced in 1849 and currently in a private collection.
Our English Coasts, also known as Strayed Sheep, is an oil-on-canvas painting by William Holman Hunt, completed in 1852. It has been held by the Tate Gallery since 1946, acquired through The Art Fund.
The Lady of Shalott is an oil painting by William Holman Hunt, made c. 1888-1905, and depicting a scene from Tennyson's 1833 poem, "The Lady of Shalott". The painting is held by the Wadsworth Atheneum, in Hartford, Connecticut. A smaller version is held by the Manchester Art Gallery.