I've written about him here, here and elsewhere on this blog. His Wikipedia entry is here.
The present post deals with examples of his early work, paintings made before he settled into his mature style and subject matter.
Tadema was about 18 years old when he painted this oil-on-paper study. Enlarge to view his brushwork a little better.
He was about 20 here. A Dutchman, his formal art training was in Antwerp, in the Flemish part of Belgium.
From about the same time as the previous image. Unlike the study of the man's head, this work is a tightly painted genre image pretty much in line with art fashions of the time.
This has a very Flemish feeling to it, not at all what we would expect of Tadema.
Here too Tadema is both acquiring experience and staying within the artistic norms of those times.
Note the brickwork in the background -- reminds me in a tiny way of Vermeer's portrayal of Delft.
Now for a quick, though transitory, stylistic departure. Again, not the Tadema we know.
Now he is about 30 and following his interest in depicting antiquity as accurately as possible. However, this painting is still somewhat dark and Flemish compared to his mature works.
Tadema was known for, among other things, his skill at painting marble. This is an early example when he was still learning how to do it convincingly. However, this is not an oil painting, so the medium might be a factor here.
I include this later painting to show his mature style. The image is bright and the marble really looks like marble.