In his “Advent Art” series entry for Dec. 3, the Rev. Patrick Comerford focuses on the well-known painting “Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt.
Two short exceprts:
Christ’s head bears two crowns: the earthly crown of shame and his heavenly crown of glory. The thorny crown is beginning to bud and blossom. These are not thorns from a hawthorn hedge, or briars from an overgrown garden. These are thorns from branches thrown by soldiers in Palestine on a barrack-room brazier, with spikes three to four inches long, twisted into a rough-and-ready crown set firmly on Christ’s head, each sharp spike drawing blood.
Christ’s lantern lights up his features, the doorway, and the way ahead. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119: 105). To those living in darkness, Christ is waiting to enter their lives. The cords of the lamp, twisted around Christ’s wrist, symbolise the intense unity between Christ and the Church.
It’s fascinating to learn more about the history and symbolism of the painting. Go check it out!