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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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Lord Frederick
Leighton
English painter, sculptor, illustrator & writer
born 1830- died 1896

Born in: Scarborough (England)
Died in: Greater London (England)

Nationality:
English

Student of:
Edward von Steinle (1810-1886)

Teacher of:

Mentor to:
Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934), Charles Edward Perugini (1839-1918)

Patron of:
Walter Crane (1845-1915), Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934)

Associate member of:
The Royal Academy of Art

Full member of:
The Royal Academy of Art

President of:
The Royal Academy of Art

Member of:
Hogarth Club

'And the sea gave up the dead which were in it'

1891-1892
Oil on canvas

Tate Gallery (London, United Kingdom)

Added: 2001-09-23

Contemporary Comment from Private Views in the Artists' Studios - 1892:

The title which Sir Frederic Leighton has finally selected for this work is taken from the twentieth chapter of the Revelation "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it." It is, in a word, a vision of the Last Judgement. Three figures dominate the spacious canvas. In the centre is a man - the only living being of the group - who with his right arm supports his wife, while with his left he clasps his boy who clings with filial affection to his side. The three are being slowly drawn by some unseen mysterious all-compelling force from the depths of an inky and turbulent sea upwards. The man's eye is fixed upon the heavens, which are strangely troubled and filled with an unnatural light - "a dramatic sky," as the artist tersely and fittingly describes it - and it expresses hope tempered with fear. The interval between death and judgment is at an end; the soul has dawned; and filled with thoughts of his early career, the man gazes with awe upon the great white throne, whereupon sits the author of his being with the great book of Life. His wife still sleeps the sleep of death; but a certain warmth of colour in the limbs of the half naked boy indicates his rapid return to existence. Hard by the dominant group is a half risen corpse, whose arms are folded across the breast, and who is still clad in the cerements in which he was committed to the deep; while king and commoners are rising in the background. For "the dead, small and great," are to stand before God. The design for this picture was prepared some years ago, and it was originally intended for the decoration, in mosaic, of the dome of St Paul's. eight large circles were to be filled by Sir Frederic Leighton, and a number of smaller ones by Mr Poynter.

Source: Victorian Art in Great Britain.

Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna

1853-1855
Oil on canvas
222.2 x 520.5 cm
(87.48" x 204.92")
Royal Collection, Windsor Castle (London, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-08-22

Ruskin on Pictures, pp.23-4: notes from John Ruskin's review of Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna in the 1855 Royal Academy Exhibition:

"This is a very important and very beautiful picture. It has both sincerity and grace, and is painted on the purest principles of Venetian art - that is to say, on the calm acceptance of the whole of nature, small and great, as, in its place, deserving of faithful rendering. The great secret of the Venetians was their simplicity. [...] Everything in [their art] is done as well as it can be done. Thus, in the picture before us, in the background is the Church of San Miniato, strictly accurate in every detail; on the top of the wall are oleanders and pinks, as carefully painted as the church; the architecture of the shrine on the wall is well studied from thirteenth-century Gothic, and painted with as much care as the pinks; the dresses of the figures, very beautifully designed, are painted with as much care as the architecture; and the faces with as much care as the dresses - that is to say, all things, throughout, with as much care as the painter could bestow. [...]
    The painting before us has been objected to, because it seems broken up into bits. Precisely the same objection would hold, and in very nearly the same degree, against the best works of the Venetians. All faithful colourists' work, in figure-painting, has a look of sharp separation between part and part. [...] Although, however, in common with all other works of its class, it is marked by these sharp divisions, there is no confusion in its arrangement. The principal figure is nobly principal, not be extraordinary light, but by its own pure whiteness; and both the master and the young Giotto attract full regard by distinction of form and face. The features of the boy are carefully studied, and are indeed what, from the existing portraits of him, we know those of Giotto must have been in his youth. The head of the young girl who wears the garland of blue flowers is also very sweetly conceived. [...]"

Ruksin also associated Leighton's painting with lines from the Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Casa Guidi Windows:

          "I hold, too,
    That Cimabue smiled upon the lad
    At the first stroke which passed what he could do;
    Or else his Virgin's smile had never had
    Such sweetness in't."

Captive Andromache [detail: left]

c1888
Oil on canvas
197 x 406.5 cm
(77.56" x 160.04")
Manchester City Art Galleries (Manchester, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-09-07
Captive Andromache [detail: left]
Captive Andromache [detail: right]

c1888
Oil on canvas
197 x 406.5 cm
(77.56" x 160.04")
Manchester City Art Galleries (Manchester, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-09-07
Captive Andromache [detail: right]
Captive Andromache

c1888
Oil on canvas
197 x 406.5 cm
(77.56" x 160.04")
Manchester City Art Galleries (Manchester, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-09-07
Cymon and Iphigenia

c1884
Oil on canvas
162.5 x 327.6 cm
(63.98" x 128.98")
Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)

Added: 2002-09-07
Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna [detail: left]

1853-1855
Oil on canvas
222.2 x 520.5 cm
(87.48" x 204.92")
The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Added: 2002-09-07
Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna [detail: right]

1853-1855
Oil on canvas
222.2 x 520.5 cm
(87.48" x 204.92")
The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Added: 2002-09-07
Faticida

c1894
Oil on canvas
152.5 x 109 cm
(60.04" x 42.91")
Lady Lever Art Gallery (Merseyside, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-09-07
Greek Girls Playing at Ball

c1889
Oil on canvas
119.4 x 198.1 cm
(47.01" x 77.99")
Dick Institute (Kilmarnock, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-09-07