William Holman Hunt

I didn’t expect to be able to do any serious blogging on this whirlwind journey beyond an erratic bit of travelogue. But the unexpected boon of constant internet access has enabled me to putter around a bit on the web, and I have discovered an article that I am eager to share.In keeping with my hope to profile some of my beloved artists, I want the world to know more about William Holman Hunt, both for himself as a superb artist, and for the part he played in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of artists who bucked the artistic trends of their time, desiring instead to return to an artistic way of thought before the Renaissance that saw art as full of symbol and meaning, marked by an almost fanatical attention to detail. Their driving ideas included the conviction that art ought to be objectively meaningful, well-executed, deeply beautiful. Even in the beginning years of modern and postmodern thought, they were already beginning the call back to an objective beauty, an attention to the loveliness of nature and the need for meaning in all forms of creation. I think they are a pretty powerful inspiration to all artists today. Their epic, richly beautiful pictures adorn several of my walls and are such constant companions of beauty that I feel the richer for their presence in my life. I find that their pictures have a staying power in my mind that much modern art lacks entirely.

William Holman Hunt was a well-known member of the Brotherhood, but is of particular interest because of his faith. A faith powerfully expressed in his painting Light of the World. A painting of Christ, lantern in hand, knocking at the door of the human heart, it was a painting that drew the admiration and love of Hunt’s own time, and has retained its meaningful beauty for the present. Christianity Today has a recent article having to do with that particular work and several books recently published on Hunt’s life and art. You can go here to read it. You can also go here for a short history of the Brotherhood, and here for a list of the museums and websites housing his works and offering prints of his paintings.

Even in the midst of my crazy travel days, I have been strengthened in heart by stumbling across this study on the life of a man who so valued beauty and was so committed to bringing the rich mystery of the Biblical story to life in his art. It’s what I want to do in my writing. It’s what I want to do in my life. So enjoy this artist. May he enrich your days as well.


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