Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Anna Alma-Tadema: The Art of the Details


There are artists, especially pencil or charcoal artists, with the most amazing portraits done in great and astonishing detail. Minute detail in painting is not as common these days as it was pre-photography days. In those days, patronage required that the artist paint the riches of the patrons.

With the advent of photography, artists were free to paint in more abstract ways. Yet, there were a certain number of artists, who were trained in the importance of detail and remained highly regarded. One such artist was Anna Alma-Tadema (1867-1943) (Self-portrait on left)

Anna was raised in a family of artists. Her father, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, shared with her his love and success in detail painting. He went about decorating their home as a Roman villa, which offered much detail for Anna to paint. 

She was so good in her use of watercolor, goache and graphite recreating these sumptious rooms that by age 18, she was exhibiting professionally. She also painted flowers, portraits and buildings - always with an eye to detail.

Anna was a suffragette who never married. Her dedication was to her art and her family. She continued to exhibit her work for 40 years (1885-1928) in the most prestigous venues. By the time her father died, the market for such detailed art had collapsed.. She eked out a living after 1928, but those works are unknown. 

No comments:

Post a Comment