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Lawrence Alma-Tadema - Dutch Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 - 1912)

After training at the Antwerp Academy of Art and working with Baron Hendryk Leys, Lawrence Alma-Tadema traveled to Italy where he was strongly influenced by the classical ruins. He settled in England in 1870 and devoted himself to painting large-scale narrative, historical paintings and was knighted in 1899. His later works were influenced by his trip to Egypt in 1902, and Alma-Tadema also developed an interest in ancient artifacts.

Universally admired during his lifetime for his superb draftsmanship and depictions of Classical antiquity, he fell into disrepute after his death and only in the last thirty years has his work been reevaluated for its importance within nineteenth-century English art.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was arguably the most successful painter of the Victorian era. For over sixty years he gave his audience exactly what they wanted: distinctive, elaborate paintings of beautiful people in classical settings. His incredibly detailed reconstructions of ancient Rome, with languid men and women posed against white marble in dazzling sunlight provided his audience with a glimpse of a world of the kind they might one day construct for themselves at least in attitude if not in detail.

He is now regarded as one of the principal classical-subject painters of the nineteenth century whose works demonstrate the care and exactitude of an era mesmerized by trying to visualize the past, some of which was being recovered through archaeological research.


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