A painter, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He had been working in a London office when at the age of 17 he broke free and entered the Royal Academy Schools. There he met John Everett Millais who was then only 15 and they remained friends until they died. In 1848 along with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and a few others they founded the Pre Raphaelite Britherhood.
The movement felt English painting had lost its way. Their solution was try and use techniques that had been practised before Raphael (1483-1520). It was an idealistic movement that Holman Hunt had created and he passionately adhered to John Ruskin's urge to look to nature for truth for the rest of his life. In The Hireling Shephard (1852) one sees probably the most faithful rendition of a grassy mound ever put to canvas. He became obsessed with the smallest detail. So when he came to paint May Morning at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1891 he went every day for weeks trying to perfect his image.
Many of his paintings took years to complete, for example The Finding of our Saviour in the Temple. He nearly gave up painting early on in his career. But the 1850s saw the beginning of his success. In 1854 his most famous painting The Light of the World was completed. It contains the allegory of Christ knocking at the door of the human soul. There are now two version in existence, one of which is at Keble College, Oxford.
His use of colour was vibrant but many did find it crudely so. He also saw his role as being "to serve as high priest and expounder of the excellence of the works of the creator". Hence the profound religiousity of his works.
In 1994 a replica he made of his painting The Shadow of Death was sold for £2million. Thats the highest for any Pre-Raphaelite work.
, he died in 1910
. His later years confirmed his rejection
of the latest innovation
s in art
with the publication
of Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood