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William Holman Hunt


Romantic British, Victorian Era, Painter and Fine Arts Educator and Co-Founder  of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB)

Artistically and stylistically influenced the following painters and art periods;  Early Renaissance, Byzantine Style, Gothic era, , Sassetta, Taddeo di Bartolo, GiottoRossetti  and John Everett Millais

Education - Royal Academy in London, England

cause of death - old age

About The Artist

As a young man Hunt was extremely religious, reading his bible daily. He rejected the crass materialism of Victorian society and spent his leisure hours in payer and scripture study. Hunt was compelled to reconnect with the lost spirituality of Gothic, Medieval and Early-Renaissance imagery. He was especially drawn to the symbolic realism and mysticism of Sassetta' s paintings. Hunt is one of the founding members of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of painters opposed to the stale, academic style of art required by the oppressive Royal Art Academy of England. Like the work of Rossetti and John Everett Millais, his paintings are centered around classical mythology, medieval legends, and the biblical stories. His work is luminous, romantic and unforgettable, overflowing with symbolic realism.

The term Pre-Raphaelites refers to High Renaissance artist Raphael. Some members of the PRB referred to Raphael's work as slosh and criticized his decadent themes and lifestyle. Raphael, although one of the greatest painters in the history of art, died of syphilis and was known as a drunkard and carouser. This did not sit well with the PRB painters who believed that only a morally pure artist could produce spiritually pure art.  John Ruskin, famous Victorian era author and art critic was a major influence on the PRB painters.  The writer asserted "The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one" 

William Hunt Quotations

 "The earliest truth that we're taught is that there's a world alongside this world, with spirits, not mortals, an enchanted universe of fairies, wizards, leprechauns and trolls. They are all around us. One has only to open his eyes." -- William Holman Hunt Quote

Famous Artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Movement

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
John Everett Millais
William Holman Hunt
Edward Robert Hughes
John William Godward
John William Waterhouse 
Lord Frederic Leighton
Edward Burne-Jones
Walter Howell Deverell


The Founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB)

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was founded in 1848. The most important artist was a  handsome and charming painter named Dante Gabriel RossettiRossetti and his chums, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, rejected Neoclassical and High Renaissance art and embraced the spiritually infused works of the Early Renaissance, Byzantine Style  and Gothic  painters. They sought to created a new artistic style using biblical, mythological, and literary imagery as the subjects of their art-works. Their paintings often contain obscure visual symbols and secret riddles.

William Holman Hunt's  Artistic Themes
Arthurian legends
femme fatale 
Italian themes 
classical themes 
 historical themes 
 literary themes 

Writers who influenced William Holman Hunt

 Margaret Gatty
Edward Bulwer-Lytton
John Keats
Coventry Patmore
Charles Dickens
Dinah Maria Mulock


Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood  -  Quattrocento art, mythology, the classical world,  Pre-Raphaelite Journal, Margaret Gatty,  medieval era, mermaids, Florentine art, spiritually significant,, The Germ, idealized biblical themes, Jewish folklore,  19th century, avant-garde movement, Romantic poetry,  Goethe, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, mythology, history painting, 1848, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, John Keats, Shakespeare, Coventry Patmore, Charles Dickens, Tennyson, romanticized landscapes, Christian symbolism, Cyclographic Club, Early Renaissance painting,


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