The Victorian painter William Holman Hunt was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Hunt worked as a clerk from the age of 12 before being accepted at the Royal Academy Schools, where he met Millais and Rossetti. Hunt and his friends rebelled against what they saw as the triviality of British art. They wanted to revive the simplicity and seriousness of art before Raphael. In 1848, they founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB).
The PRB broke up after a few years, but Hunt remained loyal to its aims of painting serious subjects in a realistic style based on detailed observation. In his obsessive quest for authenticity, he even made several trips to the Middle East so that he could paint biblical scenes in their original locations.
Hunt’s brightly coloured paintings focus on moral and religious themes. Among the most famous are The Awakening Conscience, The Light Of The World and The Scapegoat.
Thumbnail credit: William Holman Hunt, Self Portrait (detail), 1845, oil on canvas, Birmingham Museums Trust