Alma-Tadema Sir Lawrence

Alma-Tadema Sir Lawrence

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, b Drontyp. 1836. d Wiesbaden. 1912
A Coign of Vantage 1895 Oil on canvas. Private collection

Alma-Tadema Sir Lawrence A Coign of Vantage

Three Roman women watch the return of galleys from a corner, or coign. This charming work conveys a sense both of height and of warm sunlight.

The fabric of the women’s clothes, the marble ledge and the bronze beast are all rendered in great detail. In the handling of the women and the sea far below, the artist shows his great skill with complicated perspective. A Dutch painter who moved to England in 1870, Alma-Tadema had a successful career and was lavished with personal and professional honours in his lifetime. His Neo-Classical portrayals of ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian life were highly popular with Victorian society. They also showed the artist’s knowledge of archaeology and social history. On several occasions Alma- Tadema was commissioned for theatre designs, in particular Sir Henry Irving’s 1901 production of Conolanus at the Lyceum Theatre in London.