Since Mark Roskill discusses the various versions of this work so extensively, I shall not do so myself. Roskill does not draw upon the abundant manuscript material which illuminates our understanding of The Light of the World, much of which only became available after the appearance of his article, but he has assembled much important information about the picture, including the fact that the life-size version in St. Paul's owes as much to E. R. Hughes, who completed it when Hunt's eyesight failed, as to Hunt himself. Roskill's claim that Hunt was an inept, clumsy, and inefficient copyist of his own creations seems undemonstrated, particularly because he fails to investigate Hunt's earlier copying of his own work and because he fails to take into account the evidence he himself presents that Hughes is responsible for much of the painting. On the other hand, Roskill's argument that the later version's increased frontality, flatness, and decorativeness show the influence of contemporary developments in British painting is suggestive.

[Return to the discussion of Hunt's Themes of Conversion]

References

Roskill, Mark. "Holman Hunt's Differing Versions of the 'Light of the World.'" Victorian Studies 6 (1962-63): 329-42.


Victorian Web Overview Visual Arts William Holman Hunt

Last modified December 2001