Lady Lever artwork of the month for June 2007. ‘Tuscan Girl’, by William Holman Hunt
About the artwork
William Holman Hunt was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. A determined and resolute character, he followed the principle of ‘truth to nature’ throughout his artistic career. His powerful religious pictures brought him widespread recognition but his portraits are equally stunning.
Hunt was born in Cheapside, London, the son of a warehouse manager. He showed a talent for painting at an early age but his father discouraged this pursuit and instead had him employed as a clerk in the City by the age of fourteen. Despite the lack of support and encouragement, the young Hunt continued to paint finding some success with portraits. He applied to study art at the Royal Academy Schools and in July 1844, on the third attempt, he was accepted as a probationer, becoming a student in the December.
He started to exhibit works at the Academy from 1846 finding inspiration for his subjects from religious episodes, Shakespeare and contemporary issues. Hunt’s reading also included contemporary arts criticism. Indeed, John Ruskin’s Modern Painters of 1847 had a profound influence on him. From this point, his thoughts were confirmed; it was the close study of nature that was the key to revitalising art.
Free gallery talks Wednesday 13 and Tuesday 26 June, 13.00