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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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Sir Lawrence Alma
Netherlands painter & draftsman
born January 8 1836- died June 28 1912

Born in: Dronrijp (Friesland, Netherlands)
Died in: Wiesbaden (Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany)

Also known as:
Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, Laurens Alma Tadema, Sir Laurence


Netherlands, England & Belgium

Student of:

Teacher of:

Father of:

Husband of:

Cousin of:

Associate member of:
The Royal Academy of Art

Full member of:
The Royal Academy of Art, Royal Accademia Romana di San Luca

Officer of:
Legion d'Honneur

Honorary member of:
The Oxford University Dramatic Society

Mother of:

The Roses of Heliogabalus

Oil on canvas
132.1 x 213.9 cm
(52.01" x 84.21")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24

The author of over 700 poems and prose poems, Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) continued well into the twentieth century the Decadent and Symbolist traditions of Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, and Algernon Swinburne. Born in Long Valley, California, C.A. Smith was hailed early as a poetic prodigy, and compared to Keats and Shelley. He was distinguished by a sure and delicate sense of rhythm and a taste for exotic or archaic words. In this he resembled his English contemporary Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), who along with Smith combined a sensuous response to life with a world-weary attitude to love. In their love for the rare, the exquisite, the gemlike, and even the perverse, they might be described as fin de siecle.
    Fin de siecle also is the subject, if not the treatment, of Alma-Tadema's delicately wrought masterpiece The Roses of Heliogabalus. There is no known connection between the poem and the painting other than the choice of the same incident from the life of 3rd century Roman emperor Heliogabalus (Varius Avitus Bassus). The episode is that of Heliogabalus literally (and fatally) smothering his guests in a shower of rose-petals. Alma-Tadema, unlike Smith, has eschewed the morbid connotations of this subject and focussed more on the frolicsome pleasures of the Roman aristocracy. Frolicsome was not the process of painting this piece, which took some time and labour, with Tadema having to import roses out of season.
    C.A. Smith's poem is an interesting counterpart to Alma-Tadema's painting as it focusses more on the personality of the emperor, who is seen as something of a decadent aesthete. An exhaustive search has not turned up an individual called 'Christophe des Lauriëres', and is assumed by this author to be Clark Ashton Smith writing pseudonymously.

Clark Ashton Smith
Translated from Christophe des Lauriëres

    He, the supreme idealist of Sin,
    Through scarlet days a white perfection sought
    To make of lyric deed and lyric thought
    One music of perverse accord, wherein
    The songless blatancy and banal din
    Of all the world should perish: he had wrought
    From Vice a pure, Pentelic Venus, fraught
    With lines of light and terror, that should win
    The plaudits of the stars. . . . But prevalent
    For him, above the achievable desire,
    And Life perfectible by Sin and Art,
    Such lusts as leave the Titans impotent
    Allured, and Life and Sin, in worlds apart,
    Were fair with suns of quintessential fire.

Source: The Eldritch Dark.

Unwelcome Confidences

Oil on panel
38.1 x 22.86 cm
(15" x 9")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown Mass. Sept. 21, 1991 to Jan. 5, 1992
Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Md., Feb. 5, 1992 to Mar. 31, 1992
Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, Apr. 23, to June 11, 1992
Dixon Gallery, Memphis Tenn., July 12 to Sept. 6, 1992

Unwelcome Confidences
Welcome Footsteps

Oil on canvas
41.9 x 54.6 cm
(16½" x 21½")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24
A Hearty Welcome

Oil on canvas
30.5 x 92.7 cm
(12.01" x 36½")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24
Under the Roof of Blue Ionian Weather

Oil on canvas
55.3 x 120.7 cm
(21.77" x 47.52")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24
Under the Roof of Blue Ionian Weather ­ detail

Oil on canvas
55.3 x 120.7 cm
(21.77" x 47.52")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24
An Exedra

Oil on canvas
38 x 59.8 cm
(14.96" x 23.54")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24

Oil on canvas
82.5 x 56.3 cm
(32.48" x 22.17")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24
Whispering Noon

Oil on canvas
56 x 39.3 cm
(22.05" x 15.47")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24
In My Studio

Oil on canvas
61.6 x 47 cm
(24¼" x 18½")
Private collection

Added: 2001-09-24