Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (update)

Sir Lawrence Alma-TademaDutch-born 19th century painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema spent the majority of his highly successful career in England, where his meticulously crafted depictions of decadent luxury cast in the settings of classical antiquity were in high demand.

Alma-Tadema was one of the most highly regarded Victorian painters of the time, and was tremendously influential on other painters, including many of the Pre-Raphaelites. When the 20th century Modernists became the artistic establishment, Alma-Tadema, like most other Victorian Academic painters, was not only diminished in status, but actively reviled as the kind of facile but artistically empty painting that modernism was to free us from (sigh).

Alma-Tadema’s work experienced a revival in popularity in the mid to late 20th century — among real people, not art critics, and his work has been particularly influential among contemporary fantasy and concept artists.

I wrote about Alma-Tadema here on Lines and Colors back in 2005, when I was only putting up a single image per article, and though I’ve since added a few Alma-Tadema “Eye Candy” posts, I thought it was about time for a revisit to highlight some of his beautiful work.

I’ve provided some links below to some image archive resources on the web.

Eye candy indeed.

2 Replies to “Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (update)”

  1. Someone should write a book, “The Day Facile became a Bad Word.” I had a teacher in my graduate program ask me, “Who are you showing off for?” I answered, “Pretty much anyone that will look.” That was the wrong answer, bad grade and we never quite got along after that. I guess the point is, man can Alma-Tadema paint.

    1. Yes, “facile” got thrown at Sargent a lot as a pejorative. I like your response to your grad program teacher. And yeah, Sargent and Sorolla and Alma-Tadema and the Pre-Raphaelites and all of those facile Victorian painters were showing off, and so were Rembrandt and Rubens and Durer and Velazquez and Titian, etc., etc., etc.

      But not the Modernists, of course. They were above all that.

      Sour grapes, anyone?

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