The Light of the World (1851-53) by William Holman Hunt

The Light of the World - William Holman Hunt - 1851

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Light of the World
ArtistWilliam Holman Hunt
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions59.8 x 125.5 cm
Art MovementSymbolism
Current LocationKeble College, Oxford, UK
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About The Light of the World

William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World is an allegorical painting depicting Jesus Christ preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, as described in Revelation 3:20. The painting was created by Hunt during a period of his life marked by a significant evolution in both his art and personal beliefs, following his conversion to Christianity. As one of the most famous works of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, known for their attention to detail and elaborate symbolism, The Light of the World has been widely exhibited across various galleries around the world.

Hunt was heavily influenced by writers such as John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle when creating this artwork. Additionally, he painted The Awakening Conscience as a counterpart to this piece. Inspired by these philosophical underpinnings and theological readings, Hunt portrayed Jesus carrying a lamp to illuminate the darkness that blinds humans from seeing him knocking at their door. This powerful image serves as a reminder that salvation is always at hand for those willing to pursue it.

Today, The Light Of The World is housed at Keble College located in University of Oxford where it remains appreciated for its powerful depiction of faith signaling hope among humanity’s darkest hours.

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