Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Favorite Painter: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema


Detail from 'Cherries'

Unconscious Rivals

Ask Me No More


The Frigidarium

Sculptors in Ancient Rome


A Coign of Vantage


Detail from 'Spring'

Detail from 'Spring'

Detail from 'Spring'

Detail from 'Spring'

Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 - 1912) was a prolific painter born in the Netherlands and trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, in Belgium. In 1870 he settled in England and lived there the rest of his life.

A popular painter of classical-subjects, he was famed for his luxurious use of ancient Roman settings often with women of antiquity draped against marble in various attitudes of romantic repose. He also specialized in depicting historical and biblical scenes as well as narrative paintings of ancient Rome.

After his death, Alma-Tadema fell out of popular and critical favor, but in the 1960's, his work was re-evaluated and interest renewed. That's the way of things with artists - in and out of favor and no accounting for the whims of fate and taste.

My favorites have always been 'Spring' and 'Cherries'. But I have a grudging admiration for anyone who can create with such theatricality and an obvious love of the mythical past. Occasionally some of his paintings remind me of silent movies, perhaps because of the dramatic exaggeration of mood and pose.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

To learn about Lawrence Alma-Tadema and see much more of his work as well as detailed explanations of his historical paintings, please use this link.


  1. Charming!

    And so suitable for a wonderful spring day. I hope your sky has been as lovely as ours.

  2. I was familiar with the more famous paintings by Alma-Tadema, but I had no idea that he was so prolific! Thanks for the great link!

  3. Hi Dorte, yes, we're having stirrings of Spring here as well. Days are partially cloudy then suddenly the sun shines. It has not been a typical winter at all.

  4. You're welcome, Mark. I, too, was surprised by how much work the man had done. Some of these are pretty spectacular.

  5. These are lovely paintings. The "Spring" collection is really something. No two flower wreath is alike though nearly every girl or woman is wearing a beautiful wreath. I also noticed there are no men in any of the paintings except for "Ask Me No More."

  6. Hi Prashant, I'm so pleased you're back commenting. I worried when you were absent all those days.

    Anyway, what about Sculptors in Ancient Rome??? Men.

    I didn't purposely exclude you guys, it's just that these paintings happen to be my faves.

  7. Alma-Tadema's paintings are so detailed and lush. "Spring" was captivating. I enjoyed reading his biography on the link you provided, Yvette.

  8. Yvette - Your Saturday salon of favorite paintings has become a kind of weekly getaway for me. What gorgeous dream-inducing, richly colored scenarios you've showcased this week...and "Spring" is especially timely for me - our weather was absolutely glorious today and the painting matches my mood perfectly.

  9. You want to sink into the paintings. :) I'm glad you enjoyed reading the info at the link. There's just so much stuff to learn about these artists.

    I know now that if I ever went back to school, I'd major in Art History. For sure.

  10. Thank you, Eve. I'm just spreading a little of my own sunshine in the world. :)

    I really look forward to Saturday Salon myself. I'm always learning something new.

    Gorgeous day today. What happened to winter?

  11. These are really making me look forward to warm weather and that's saying something because I'm totally a winter person. Too bad I didn't get one this year!

  12. Lauren, I'm a cold weather person myself and I'm still wondering when winter will arrive. :)

    The 'Spring' painting is a doozy, no question. :)

  13. Such pretty paintings! Thanks for sharing!

    Incidentally, Alma-Tadema was one of Miss Marple's favourite painters.

    Oh and have you seen my movie blog here,

    I've barely started with just one movie review up but I'm pretty thrilled. :-)

  14. I didn't know that, Willow - about Miss Marple, I mean. I must have forgotten it. Wow. What a great tidbit. Thanks for sharing. :)

    I'll be over to look at your movie blog when I have a moment. Definitely.


Your comment will appear after I take a look.