Monday, July 8, 2019

Another Alma-Tadema Painting Up Close

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) was long neglected, but now some of his paintings are auctioned for tens of millions of dollars. I wrote about this in 2011 and discussed his miniaturist aspect here.

He painted both large and small works, but the small ones can fascinate due to the skill used to render small faces and tiny details so convincingly.

I recently came across one such painting in San Francisco's Legion of Honor museum. It is "A Coign of Vantage" (1895). The title might be translated as "A Vantage Nook" -- the word "Coign" referring to a corner. It's 64 cm (25.2 inches) high and 44.5 cm (17.5 inches) wide. This is small, but hardly tiny. Even so, the subjects depicted take up little space: a head in profile is about 5 cm (2 inches) across.

Below are an establishment photo and detail photo featuring the ladies' faces. Click on the images to enlarge considerably (if your screen is large).



Hels said...

I can understand why modern or abstract artists might have wanted to ignore Alma Tadema, but why wasn't he hugely popular in his own era?
His dates (1836–1912) would have made him hugely popular in the Late Victorian art world. Stunning art!

Pico said...

Is there anyone alive that is as good as he?

Paul Sullivan said...

What a magnificent talent. I agree with the comments above.

Thanks for this post. I extend that thank you James Gurney also. You both have Alma Tadema's work featured on the same day. I hope to see more of it and read more of your candid remarks.

Antonia said...

Thanks also, for the post. This is one of my favorites by Alma Tadema. In about 1979 I got a commission to reproduce the original, which was then in the personal collection of Gordon Getty. I have a letter from him granting permission, and a large negative from the Getty Museum's photographer to use for my painting. It was the president of the security company for The Getty who wanted this and facilitated the letter. But this was more complicated than I had previously done (three figures!), while I had only done one, and I had asked too little to do it and decided to back out. Hey, I was young. So tonight I jumped on the net to revisit doing it now for myself. I'm retired and having fun, why not? Which is why I stopped here to begin with. It's interesting to see that the painting is now in another museum.