Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, (born
January 8, 1836, Dronrijp, Netherlands—died June 25, 1912,
Wiesbaden, Germany), Dutch-born painter of scenes from everyday life
in the ancient world whose work was immensely popular in its time.
Alma-Tadema, the son of a Dutch
notary, studied art at the Antwerp Academy (1852–58) under the
Belgian historical painter Hendrik Leys, assisting the painter in
1859 with frescoes for the Stadhuis (town hall) in Antwerp. During a
visit to Italy in 1863, Alma-Tadema became interested in Greek and
Roman antiquity and Egyptian archaeology, and afterward he depicted
imagery almost exclusively from those sources. Moving to England, he
became a naturalized British subject in 1873 and was elected a
member of the Royal Academy in 1879. He was knighted in 1899.
Alma-Tadema excelled at the
accurate re-creation of ancient architecture and costumes and the
precise depiction of textures of marble, bronze, and silk. His
expert rendering of settings provides a backdrop for anecdotal
scenes set in the ancient world. Alma-Tadema’s wife, Laura Epps, was
also a painter.