Thursday, May 19, 2016

William Holman Hunt: The Consistent Pre-Raphaelite

William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) was a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, along with Gabriel Dante Rossetti and John Everett Millais. As his Wikipedia entry notes, he continued its principles during his career to a greater extent than the others.

From today's perspective, Pre-Raphaelite art in its purest technical sense would be considered "hard-edge." The PRB link above notes that "sloshy" (presumably "painterly") art was something the brothers were strongly against. Subject matter varied, but Hunt's usually contained a moralistic or literary-with-moralistic-overtones core. But in order to earn a living as painters, the PRBs often found that they had to rely on portraiture. This was certainly the case for Millais, who "went establishment," being knighted and made president of the Royal Academy.

As for Hunt, I find his most important paintings more interesting than likable, though I don't actually dislike them. I suppose this is because I usually don't care for hard-edge painting.


A converted British Family sheltering a Christian Missionary from the Persecution of the Druids - 1850

Claudio and Isabella - 1850

The Hireling Shepherd - 1851

Our English Coast (Strayed Sheep) - 1852

The Awakening Conscience - 1853

The Scapegoat - 1854

Isabella and the Pot of Basil - 1867

Bianca - 1869

The Lady of Shalott - 1886-1905

1 comment:

Hels said...

Good topic!

I was familiar with Holman Hunt's popular paintings, particularly The Awakening Conscience and The Hireling Shepherd. And I did know what he spent time travelling and painting in Israel, producing religious works like The Finding of Christ in the Temple. So I call him an Orientalist artist, but I wonder if he did.