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Religion in Art: A focus on William Holman Hunt

24 February 2015 by Megan

painting

The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, Holman Hunt

Holman Hunt was born in 1827 and died in 1910. Around 1848 he helped form the highly influential group of artists called The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, along with John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. One of his aims in painting pictures such as The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple was to create a piece of religious art for the Victorian age.

The Finding of Saviour in the Temple shows a moment in Christ’s early life. He’s in the temple, surrounded by rabbi’s and temple elders who are amazed and angered by his learning and understanding. It’s recognised as one of the moments in the early life of Jesus that leads him towards his responsibilities to spread the word of God.

Holman Hunt travelled to the Middle East around 1854-1855 to paint the figures in this picture. He wanted to have a realistic image of those who were around at the time of Christ, but this proved difficult, as he was unable to obtain models to paint, because of Jewish laws. While he waited for permission, Holman Hunt decided not to waste any time and painted The Scapegoat which can be seen at the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

Sudley House is running a talk focusing on Religion in Art on Tuesday 3 March. This talk examines depictions of religious themes in the work of William Dyce, Ary Scheffer and William Holman Hunt. For more information on this event visit our what’s on page.

If you would like to find out more about Holman Hunt and his paintings visit our website

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