Title: The Awakening Conscience
Artist: William Holman Hunt
Date: 1853
Medium: Oil on canvas
Period: Pre-Raphaelite
The Awakening Conscious, an appropriate title for a depiction of a woman who has suddenly risen from her seated position, as if she has seen something outside, or even had a revelation of some sort. The intimacy portrayed in this painting between the man and woman is rare for Victorian times, yet her wedding ring finger is bare, indicating that she is a “kept woman,” a mistress.  What I enjoy most about this time period of art, was that the paintings depicted so much symbolism and told a story of what was occurring. All around the room are symbolic metaphors of the woman’s entrapment—in the bottom corner a bird is trapped by a cat, and on the piano a clock is “kept” under its glass. In addition, symbols of her wasted life surround the room: the unfinished tapestry, the music for “Tear, Idle Tears” lies on the floor, and she turns to the brightness of the outside world as if she has suddenly “seen the light.”

Title: The Awakening Conscience

Artist: William Holman Hunt

Date: 1853

Medium: Oil on canvas

Period: Pre-Raphaelite

The Awakening Conscious, an appropriate title for a depiction of a woman who has suddenly risen from her seated position, as if she has seen something outside, or even had a revelation of some sort. The intimacy portrayed in this painting between the man and woman is rare for Victorian times, yet her wedding ring finger is bare, indicating that she is a “kept woman,” a mistress.  What I enjoy most about this time period of art, was that the paintings depicted so much symbolism and told a story of what was occurring. All around the room are symbolic metaphors of the woman’s entrapment—in the bottom corner a bird is trapped by a cat, and on the piano a clock is “kept” under its glass. In addition, symbols of her wasted life surround the room: the unfinished tapestry, the music for “Tear, Idle Tears” lies on the floor, and she turns to the brightness of the outside world as if she has suddenly “seen the light.”

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