William Holman Hunt

(2 April 1827 - 7 September 1910)


William Holman Hunt was born in London. A clerk for several years, he left the world of trade to study at the British Museum and the National Gallery.

In 1844, he entered the Royal Academy. Here he joined with Millais and Rossetti to develop the Pre-Raphaelite theories of art and, in 1848, to found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His first canvas to interpret these themes was 'Rienzi', exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1849.

In 1854, Hunt went to the Holy Land to portray scenes from the life of Christ, aiming to achieve total historical and archaelogical truth. He returned to Palestine in 1869 and again in 1873.

Throughout his life Hunt remained dedicated to Pre-Raphaelite concepts, as exemplified in such works as 'The Light of the World', 'The Scapegoat' and 'The Shadow of Death'.

London Bridge at Night

This painting shows the crowd on London Bridge on the night of 10 March 1863, celebrating the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to the future Edward VII.

Holman Hunt was awarded the Order of Merit by King Edward VII in 1905. This honour was mentioned in the The Art Journal:
"When, at the time of its institution in 1902, the Order of Merit was conferred on George Frederick Watts, some thought it would be reserved, as far as artists are concerned, to veterans of great distinction. It is eminently fitting that the place of Watts, so to say, should be taken by William Holman Hunt, who, with a like earnestness and unswerving devotion, has dedicated his life to lofty purposes. High as have been the sums he has received for pictures, Holman-Hunt has never merchandised his art, but ever used it as a vehicle of truth and of beauty. The Academy has passed him by, there is nothing by him in the Chantrey collection, and it is well that while he is yet with us there should be some public sign of the honour in which he is held. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, a second painter upon whom the Order of Merit has been conferred, is still in his prime, and there are few living artists who have a wider repute."

The Art Journal(1905)

*About the image:
William Holman Hunt National Portrait Gallery, London
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View painter's art: William Holman Hunt (1827-1910)

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