Dec 15, 2009

Study for "The Hireling Shepherd"

Study for "The Hireling Shepherd"

1851

William Holman Hunt

(British, 1827–1910)

Graphite

Watermarks: WDNEY'S

Support: Off-white laid paper

Sheet: 11.4 x 18.3 cm (4 1/2 x 7 3/16 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 1986.18

Catalogue raisonné: Bronkhurst D55

Location

Did you know?

Contemporary viewers would have recognized the painting for which this drawing is a study as bearing a deeper meaning: the couple's risky flirtation will lead to disastrous consequences and the shepherd ignores his flock while distracted by romance.

Description

Together with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt was one of the founding members in 1848 of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young artists who rejected the heavy darkness and idealization of academic history painting, replacing it with meticulously observed, jewel-colored naturalistic detail. This is a study for the figures in the oil painting The Hireling Shepherd, Hunt’s first commercial success. The poses of the couple in the painting are remarkably close to the early study: the shepherd approaches the shepherdess upon his knees, encircling her shoulders with his arm. Devoid of extraneous detail, the study concentrates on the romantic play and erotic tension expressed by the lovers’ intertwined limbs and faces and hands that stop just short of touching.

See also
Collection: 
DR - British
Department: 
Drawings
Type of artwork: 
Drawing
Medium: 
Graphite
Credit line: 
Delia E. Holden Fund

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.