William Holman Hunt

William Holman Hunt, 1827 to 1910 was an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 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'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 painted from 1851 to 1853 and now in the chapel at Keble College, Oxford, and also a later version from 1900 toured the world and now has its home in St Paul's Cathedral. In the mid-1850's Hunt travelled to the Holy Land in search of accurate topographical and ethnographic material for further religious works, and to “use my 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 give up painting because failing eyesight meant that he could not get the level of quality that he wanted. His last major works, The Lady of Shalott and a large version of The Light of the World were completed with the help of his assistant Edward Robert Hughes. He died on 7 September 1910 and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral
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