Tuesday, February 8, 2011

William Holman Hunt - The Hireling Shepherd 1851 detail


St Chartier said...

This image is full of biblical references as well as many barely disguised sexual references that would have shocked the Victorian viewer. She wears a golden halo - the Madonna. Her red skirt has folds that are painted in the shape of the female genitalia. His eyes are directed to this area. He adopts the predatory position of a wolf and his red face confirms this (lupus). In his clothing is the depiction of the male genitalia, her hand is strategically positioned beside it. In his left hand is the death-s head moth, and his right hand rests on the blue-flowered herb chicory representing bitterness. Her feet are beside still waters - Psalm 24 - but rest on the yellow flowered herb tansy - used sometimes to flavour milk, but in excess causes sickness and death. The lamb on her lap represents the sacrifice of Christ, but he is eating green apples - symbol of sin. And this is not all that is in there - a beautiful painting with many hidden meanings.

Hermes said...

Thank you, I've 'looked' at it so often but your comments are really useful.