The nineteenth-century English Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt is the subject of an exhibition opening February 14 at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto entitled Sin and Salvation: Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision. More than sixty works will be on view including some of Hunt’s most iconic paintings-The Awakening of Conscience, The Light of the World, Isabella and the Pot of Basil-as well as works by his fellow Pre-Raphaelites Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais and their associates Arthur Hughes and Ford Maddox Brown.
It makes sense that a Toronto institution would be interested in tackling the subject of Hunt. During his lifetime, the painter developed close ties with several prominent figures in Canada, including Sir Edmund Walker, the founding president of the Art Museum of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario); Charles Trick Currelly, the first director of archaeology at the Royal Ontario Museum; and Henry Wentworth Monk, a leader of the non-Jewish Zionist movement, whose portrait by Hunt is included in the exhibition. In addition, a version of Hunt’s most famous work, The Light of the World, traveled around the British Empire in 1905, making a stop in Toronto, and other version was shown at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in August-September 1935. The image inspired the design of stained-glass windows in churches throughout Ontario.
Sin and Salvation was organized by Katharine Lochnan, deputy director of research and the R. Fraser Elliott Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in association with the Manchester Art Gallery in England, where it opened last fall. After it closes in Toronto in May, the show will travel to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from June 13 to September 6. There is an accompanying catalogue, edited by Lochnan and Carol Jacobi of the National Portrait Gallery in London, which contains essays by a number of scholars in various disciplines.
Sin and Salvation: Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision · February 14 to May 10 · Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto · www.ago.net
Above right: Il Dolce for Niente by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), 1859. Oil on canvas, 39 by 32 ½ inches. Private collection.
Above left: The Afterglow in Egypt by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), 1854. Oil on canvas, 73 by 34 inches. Southampton City Art Gallery, England.