- William Holman Hunt
name = William Holman Hunt
caption = self-portrait
birth_date = Birth date|1827|4|2
birth_place = London
death_date = Death date and age|1910|9|7|1827|4|2
death_place = London
nationality = British
occupation = painter
William Holman Hunt (b.
2 April 1827in Cheapside, London– d. 7 September 1910in Kensington, London) was a British painter. He was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Life and work
Hunt's intended middle name was "Hobman", which he disliked intensely. He chose to call himself Holman when he discovered that his middle name had been misspelled this way after a clerical error at his baptism at the church of
Saint Mary the Virgin, Ewell. [Amor, Anne Clark, "William Holman Hunt: the True Pre-Raphaelite", Constable, London, 1989, p.15] Though his surname is "Hunt", his fame in later life led to the inclusion of his middle name as part of his surname, in the hyphenated form "Holman-Hunt", by which his children were known.
After eventually entering the
Royal Academyart schools, having initially been rejected, Hunt rebelled against the influence of its founder Sir Joshua Reynolds. He formed the Pre-Raphaelitemovement in 1848, after meeting the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Along with John Everett Millaisthey 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 Renaissanceembodied by Raphael. He had many pupils including Robert Braithwaite Martineau(best known for his work "Last Days in the Old Home") who was a moderately successful painter although he died young.
Hunt's works were not initially successful, and were widely attacked in the art press for their alleged clumsiness and ugliness. 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 with his religious paintings that he became famous, initially " The Light of the World" (now in the chapel at Keble College, Oxford, with a later copy in St Paul's Cathedral), which toured Britain and the United States. After travelling to the Holy Landin search of accurate topographical and ethnographical material for further religious works, Hunt 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".
All these paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, their hard vivid colour and their elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of
John Ruskinand 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. Out of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He eventually had to give up painting because failing eyesight meant that he could not get the level of quality that he wanted. His last major work, "The Lady of Shalott", was completed with the help of an assistant ( Edward Robert Hughes).
Hunt married twice. After a failed engagement to his model Annie Miller, he married Fanny Waugh, who later modelled for the figure of Isabella. When she died in childbirth in
Italyhe sculpted her tomb up at Fiesole, having it brought down to the English Cemetery, beside the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His second wife, Edith, was Fanny's sister. At this time it was illegal in Britain to marry one's deceased wife's sister, so Hunt was forced to travel abroad to marry her. This led to a serious breach with other family members, notably his former Pre-Raphaelite colleague Thomas Woolner, who had married Fanny and Edith's third sister Alice.
Hunt's autobiography " [http://worldcatlibraries.org/oclc/8048610&referer=brief_results Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood] " (1905) was written to correct other literature about the origins of the Brotherhood, which in his view did not adequately recognise his own contribution. Many of his late writings are attempts to control the interpretation of his work.
*Hunt's painting "The Hireling Shepherd" plays an important if enigmatic role in
Brian Aldiss's " antinovel"::"Report on probability A" (1968, OCLC 44986)
*Other paintings and drawings feature in Aldiss's short story::"The Secret of Holman Hunt and the Crude Death Rate" (1975).
*Hunt's painting "The Awakening Conscience" is implicitly referenced in scenes in
Michel Faber's novel::"The Crimson Petal and the White" (2002, ISBN 015100692X)
*Hunt's painting "The Awakening Conscience" is explicitly referenced in
Evelyn Waugh's novel::" Brideshead Revisited" (1945, OCLC 964336)
*One painting of him is alluded to in Alan Hollinghurst's novel::"
The Line of Beauty" (2004, ISBN 1582345082)
*Reproductions of Hunt's paintings are hung by the highly religious character Grandmamma in
Lawrence Durrell's first novel::" Pied Piper of Lovers" (1935)
English school of painting
List of Pre-Raphaelite paintings— including the works of William Holman Hunt.
title= Holman Hunt and the Light of the World
* [http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/art.asp?aid=914 ArtRenewal.org] gallery
* [http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/pre-raphaelites/scapegoat/scapegoat.asp 'The Scapegoat' (1854)] at the [http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ladylever/index.aspx/ Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight]
* [http://www.english.uwosh.edu/roth/huntarticle.htm "William Holman Hunt's The Scapegoat: Rite of Forgiveness/Transference of Blame"]
* [http://www.all-art.org/neoclasscism/hunt1.html William Holman Hunt in the "History of Art"] — a paper by Albert Boime published originally in The Art Bulletin 84 no1 94-114 Mr 2002.
* [http://www.phryne.com/artists/03-78-63.HTM Phryne's list of pictures by Hunt in accessible UK collections]
* [http://www.manchestergalleries.org/whats-on/exhibitions/index.php?itemID=45 Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision, Saturday 11 October 2008 - Sunday 11 January 2009, Manchester Art Gallery] Free entry. A major new exhibition of William Holman Hunt and othe members of the Pre-Raphelite brotherhood is on display at Manchester Art Gallery until January 2009 - for the first time all versions of Hunt's most famous painting "The Light of the World" are on display together.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.