‘The Light of the World’, Holman Hunt
This painting was first exhibited in 1854, and caused an immediate sensation. As in ‘The Scapegoat’, there is meticulous care for detail. Nothing is suggested or left out. Branches and flowers are positioned with care, and each has a symbolic meaning.
No artist since Blake put so much zeal into his work. But whereas Blake was a mystic, Hunt’s message was straightforward, to the point. His moral and devotional feeling impressed the crowds who came to see his paintings, many of which had a Christian message. In ‘The Light of the World’, Christ knocks in vain at the door of a human soul/conscience. But the weeds and vines growing in front of the door show how long it has been since this soul responded to Christ’s presence.