Jan. 8, 1836, Dronrijp, Netherlands.
d. June 25, 1912, Wiesbaden, Germany.
painter of scenes from everyday life in the ancient world who enjoyed
an immense popularity in his time. The son of a Dutch notary who intended
him for a medical career, Alma-Tadema studied art at the Antwerp Academy
(1852-58) under the historical painter Hendrik Leys, assisting his master
in 1859 with frescoes for the Stadhuis, Antwerp. During a visit to Italy
in 1863, Alma-Tadema became interested in Greek and Roman antiquity and
Egyptian archaeology, afterward depicting subjects almost exclusively
from those sources. Moving to England, he became a naturalized British
subject in 1873 and was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1879.
He was knighted in 1899. Alma-Tadema excelled at the accurate re-creation
of ancient settings and costumes and the precise depiction of textures
of marble, bronze, and silk. His treatment of human figures is a mixture
of restrained sentimentality and coy anecdote.
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