Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Netherlands Victorian Neoclassical, Olympian Classical Revivalist painter and draftsman

Born circa 1/8/1836 - Died circa 6/28/1912

Born in Dronrijp (Friesland, Netherlands)

Died in Wiesbaden (Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany)

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"Lawrence Alma-Tadema was one of the most renowned painters of late nineteenth century Britain. Universally admired for his superb draftsmanship and 'real to life' depictions of Classical antiquity he was much sought after by Victorian collectors who intimately connected with his vision. He so embraced the aspirations of his day that when the idealistic illusions of his age were shattered by modernism and the Great War his art fell from favour. Now, again, as the re-evaluation of that era is well underway his reputation is rebounding. The study of the artist and his art must begin as always with their origins ..."

This is an extract from Vern G. Swanson's landmark biography on the great Victorian artist. Dr Swanson is an acknowledged expert on Alma-Tadema and has written a critically acclaimed catalogue raisonée on the artist.

With his kind permission, the Art Renewal Center has been allowed to reprint his entire Alma-Tadema biography. This is an internet first: the complete, unabridged biography of a great master, printed with footnotes and copious illustrations. Where possible, supplementary links have been included to references in the text made to artists or personalities not so well known to twenty-first century audiences. In many cases, nineteenth century artists referred to in the text are also represented on ARC, and links have been provided to their galleries.

Further Reading:


cousin of

father of

husband of

mother of


associate member of

  • Royal Academy of Art from 1876

full member of

  • Royal Academy of Art from 1879
  • Royal Accademia Romana di San Luca from 1907

honorary member of

  • Oxford University Dramatic Society from 1890

officer of

  • Legion d'Honneur from 1878

Published on 01 January 2001
Published on 01 January 2001
Published on 06 November 2010

[To Ballantyne]

3/11 '83

My dear Ballantyne[,]

So glad to know you [are]
at your post again[.]
You know how much you
are needed there[.]

      yours very truly
        L.Alma Tadema

I had only three of those
things to sign [-] is that enough?

Image courtesy of Don Kurtz