Rienzi vowing to obtain justice for the death of his young brother, slain in a skirmish between the Colonna and the Orsini factions

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Rienzi vowing to obtain justice for the death of his young brother, slain in a skirmish between the Colonna and the Orsini factions
William Holman Hunt - Rienzi vowing to obtain justice.jpg
Artist William Holman Hunt
Year 1849
Type oil on canvas
Dimensions 86.3 cm × 122 cm (34.0 in × 48 in)
Location Private collection of Mrs E. M. Clarke

Rienzi vowing to obtain justice for the death of his young brother, slain in a skirmish between the Colonna and the Orsini factions (or simply, Rienzi) is a painting by William Holman Hunt, produced in 1849 and currently in a private collection.

History[edit]

This painting, with its extremely long title, was the first of Hunt's works to include 'PRB' (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) on the canvas.

Hunt took his subject from the 1835 novel, Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes, by Bulwer Lytton.[1] It was exhibited at the 1849 Royal Academy exhibition (alongside Millais' Lorenzo and Isabella) with the following excerpt from the novel:

But for that event, the future liberator of Rome might have been but a dreamer, a scholar, a poet, - the peaceful rival of Petrarch - a man of thoughts, not deeds. But from that time, all his faculties, energies, fancies, genius, became concentrated to a single point and patriotism, before a vision, leaped into the life and vigour of a passion.

Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes, Book I, chap. 1, 23[2]

In 1847, Hunt repeatedly sat up all night to finish John Ruskin's Modern Painters (1843);[3] in Rienzi he attempted to put into practice all that he had read. The background particularly was painted in careful detail trying to satisfy Ruskin's stringent requirements. As can be seen from some of Hunt's later work, such as The Hireling Shepherd (1851) and The Awakening Conscience (1854), the artist often experienced great difficulty with painting his figures in natural poses. This is evident here in the portrayal of the soldier on the far left of the painting.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Several of Bulwer-Lytton's novels were made into operas, with Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen being composed by Richard Wagner, and eventually becoming more famous than the novel.
  2. ^ As quoted by The London Literary Gazette of 5 December 1835, Vol.19 (GoogleBook); see also print ed., Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes, Adamant Media Corporation (2001). ISBN 0-543-87518-0
  3. ^ Composed of five volumes, the second one was influential on the early development of Pre-Raphaelitism
  4. ^ Cf. J. Bronkhurst, William Holman Hunt : A Catalogue Raisonné (2006).

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Landow, George (1979). William Holman Hunt and Typological Symbolism. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02196-8. 
  • Bronkhurst, Judith (2006). William Holman Hunt : A Catalogue Raisonné. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10235-2. 
  • Lochnan, Katharine (2008). Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision. Art Gallery of Toronto. ISBN 978-1-894243-57-5. 

External links[edit]