The Candle of Peace by William Holman Hunt

The Candle of Peace by William Holman Hunt

The light of the world [1856] In the 1850s, the opposition of the adherents of the old academic art, who considered this proven path to be the only possible, and those who not only dreamed of a new art, but did not fear to create a new way, still continued in Europe. Among these “dreamers” were young symbolic artists who called themselves the “Brotherhood of Pre-Raphaelites.” Despite the criticism that the “academics”, misunderstandings and accusations brought upon them, the Pre-Raphaelites continued to exhibit paintings filled with deep symbolism, which was primarily addressed to the human soul.

Here is what the art historian Richard Muther wrote about them: “The Pre-Raphaelites were the first in Europe, who rebelled against traditions, penetrated into the nature of form and color, and showed his personal view of nature, they are the first champions of freedom in contemporary art.” In 1856, at the Exhibition of British Art in the United States, Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt presented his painting “The Candle of Peace.” The picture did not meet the generally accepted standards, its colors were too bright, the plot was not canonical – however, it immediately impressed and became one of the most beloved of the audience. True, very few people dared to admit this… The plot of the picture is quite simple. Deep in the night, when everyone is asleep, Jesus with a lamp in his hand walks the world and knocks at the doors of houses. The bright light of the lamp highlights the darkness and darkness of the surrounding night. ” I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I’ll go in to him, and I’ll party with him, and he’s with Me “- Hunt specially writes on the frame these words from the Revelation of John the Theologian, so that everyone can” hear “the meaning of his work.

Later, the artist had to make an enlarged copy of the painting for St. Peter’s Cathedral in London, and even later the image of Christ with a lamp in his hand, printed on postcards and posters, appeared everywhere… Hunt placed special importance in the lamp in the hands of Jesus. The artist for a long time sought the desired shape, dimensions, did several layouts, experimented in the open air under different lighting conditions and eventually found what was needed. If you look closely, the holes of the lamp are different, and each of them symbolically represents one of the world religions. Holes are different – but they are united by one Light. Just like a multitude of religions and prayers, spoken in different languages, unites one sense of Faith, one connection with the Sky.

It is no coincidence that it is with this Light that Jesus comes to people. In a letter to his friend William Bella Scott, Hunt wrote: “I was motivated to create this picture by some divine will.” Probably, one should not ask why thousands of people of different ages, different views on life, fell in love with this work. Some perceived it simply as a well-written and correctly written canvas with the correct location of light and shadow. But for most, she became her beacon in the night, a symbol of hope that when dark times come, there are always those who continue to carry the light of faith and do not tire of knocking at the doors of the sleeping.

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