The Light of the World by Hunt, 1893
The Light of the World, engraved after the painting by William Holman Hunt, published in The Art Journal, 1893.
The painting is a visual representation of John 8:12, in which Jesus said "I am the light of the world, whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Hunt depicts Christ carrying a brilliantly lit lantern and knocking on the door, as if to encourage the viewer to follow him. He painted a few versions of this work, one of which hangs in St. Paul's Cathedral, and a number of engravings were made after the it.
William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) was initially unsuccessful because his work was viewed by several critics as being clumsy. He received some recognition for his naturalistic scenes of modern life, but it was his religious paintings that ultimately brought him fame. In 1848, Hunt, along with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais, founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Brotherhood rejected the strict rationalism of the late Renaissance and the influence Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy, had had on painting. They sought to reform art by reintroducing the careful detailing, intense colors, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art. They emphasized the observation of the natural world in a spirit of devotion to truth, which was largely influenced by medieval works. Hunt remained true to these ideals throughout the remainder of his career.