A few musings from St Kilda

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Painting and the Painter

Have you ever seen this picture?  It's called Light of the World by English artist William Holman Hunt.  The original painted in 1853-54 is in Keble College Oxford, but a larger version of it painted later is in St Paul's Cathedral.

We know that Hunt got the idea from Revelation 3 verse 20 (Behold, I stand at the door and knock) and John 8:12 (I am the light of the world), but how does one envisage the face of someone the artist has never seen?  So what was Jesus' face to look like?  The solution is in the painting.

Now take a look at the close up of Jesus' face and a picture of a face that bears remarkable similarity.


And who is the owner of the face on the right?   William Holman Hunt.   The question is, if you were an artist painting a picture of Jesus, how much would it look like you?   My first reaction was that I would never dream of making such a connection and Hunt was being presumptious. Shouldn't he have made Jesus look unlike anyone people could make a connection to?  

But maybe that's the underlying challenge of Hunt's painting, and I'm not sure whether he had it in mind or not when he made Jesus bear more than a passing resemblance to himself.   If you look at Matthew  5:14-16, Jesus said to His disciples "You are the light of the world."    He's the light of the world, and He's made His disciples the light of ther world too.   So if I'm a disciple of Jesus, how much should I be like Jesus in every part of my life?