The question always arises in such interpretations, whether or not presented as narratives, at what point one stops, at what boundary one rests. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the evidence of his memoirs abundantly suggests that Hunt had painted The Shadow of Death as a response to Carlyle's criticism of The Light of the World. Can Hunt's use of the brazen serpent in any way comment on Carlyle's use of the type in "Hudson's Statue," his satirical attack on democracy that takes as its point of departure a proposed portrait that of a swindler and combines it with this type of faith? For a discussion of "Hudson's Statue," see my Victorian Types, 170-76, and the Carlyle section of the Victorian Web.

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Visual Arts William Holman Hunt Religion

Last modified 12 June 2007