Monday, June 26, 2017

A Trip in Time

Found a piece of an old essay from Art History class, Art school 2007,


 to London in 1870. He had a passion for classical subject matter, 

painting Greek and Roman imagery. In 1852 he attended the Royal Academy of Antwerp and studied Dutch and Flemish art. At the Academy Alma-Tadema was taught by Egid Charles Gustave Wappers. In 1858, afte
r graduating from the Academy, Alma-Tadema began working with a painer by the name of Jan August Hendrik Leys. He helped Alma-Tadema carve out his own style, and guided him to his first major work, The Education of the Children of Clovis.  Critics loved the painting, while Leys compared Sir Lawrence’s rendering of marble to that of cheese.
 The painting was eventually purchased and given to King Leopold of Belgium.

        Alma-Tadema researched his subjects extensively. He went on a massive trip through Europe, in which in Italy he took photographs of the ancient ruins and soon started a collection of reference material. He would often have flowers imported all the way from Africa, and rush to paint them before the flowers died. He was called a perfectionist, and would labor over his paintings.


        In the Philadelphia Art Museum, I came across the painting A Reading from HomerThe incredibly detail of the marble comes across so well, it seems as if one could reach out and rub its smooth surface. The petals on the flowers look so textured. The characters themselves seem to be caught in a trance by Homer’s powerful words. The fur on the young lad lying down looks so vivid. The delightful woman reclining, holding what most certainly is a love interest, glows in her white gown. Her hair is a brilliant gold that massages the eye. Her lover’s cloak is a deep blue, almost giving off a velvet appearance. 
The dashing orator reads of Homer’s work, and captivates his comrades with Homer’s intelligence. One can almost hear the cithara, an ancient musical instrument perched on a bench. The color of the body of water in the background is the bluest of blue. Light hits it and shimmers along the ripples. I must meet Sir Lawrence. His ideals are something I hop
e to achieve. His subject matter’s historical depiction and accuracy, at the same time remaining close to him and an arena he feels confident and comfortable in. Evidence of his brush strokes are hidden from vision. 




His paintings have life. Other Roman paintings such as The Roses of Heliogabalus, show off his prowess. Amongst the beautiful pink feathers, a sinister motives awaits.

        I proceed to head home to get the engine and gears started on my time machine. It is a small contraption with a seat and an overall crude design. I shove my papers in a bag and hurry along into the seat. I set the date for 1888, at the height of Sir Alma-Tadema's popularity and towards the end of his life.As I rip through time, I think of the countless awards Sir Lawrence received. He was the richest Victorian artist.  


I make it to Victorian era England without a mishap...