Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was born in the Netherlands in 1936. Even though he was Dutch, he is more renowned for the work he produced with the Royal Academy in London. A contemporary of Lord Leighton and Godward, his realistic paintings often depict scenes from the Ancient Greco-Roman world. He was also famous for being one of the best painters of marble in the world. This earned him the nickname of the “Most Marbellous Painter!”. He is a favourite of mine, not only for his technique, but also because of his knowledge of the classical world. A very detailed bibliography of the artists can be found on the Art Renewal Center’s website – Bibliography of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
I am particularly fond of this painting of Sappho and Alcaeus. I think this is one of the only representations of her that shows her with her daughter, Cleis.
In this painting, Alma-Tadema depicts the morning after the arrival of the maenads. According to Plutarch, a group of ecstatic maenads, the female devotees of Dionysus, arrive in town and collapse from exhaustion. These maenads were from another town that was at war with Amphissa. When the women of Amphissa found the other women asleep scattered in the market-place, they worried that they men might molest them. They formed a circle around the maenads and held vigil through late night and morning until their guests woke and safely escorted them out of their territory.
If you happen to be in the UK, Leighton House will be holding an exhibition of Sir Alma-Tadema’s work.
When I lived in Fukui Prefecture I used to drive a lot and got into the habit of listening to a number of podcasts. Now I have less driving but more housework so they help me to get through all of that instead. Here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy.
Hosted by Dr. Rhiannon Evans and Matt Smith, this podcast on ancient Rome is, hands down, one of the best I have ever listened to. Dr. Evans is a font of knowledge and is always a pleasure to listen to. It’s also especially nice when they take little detours to other topics like Women Poets of Rome.
While I’m not exactly a rabid fan of Game of Thrones, I have read the books and I do enjoy chatting with my friends about various plot arcs and conspiracy theories. This podcast separates episodes into non-spoiler and spoiler so you can choose just how much you want to learn.
Something of an outlier compared to the rest of the podcasts I listen to, I enjoy this one for keeping abreast of current science news and also keeping myself educated in various scientific fields. I also like astronomy… a lot. And quarks. All the quarks. Especially quantum quarks…
Every year my city holds an iris festival up near Lake Kitagata. There are over 150 different varieties on display in the iris garden, many of them for sale to casual gardeners and visitors alike. This year I decided that I’d try and grab a few photos to use at references at some point or another. Enjoy.
P.S. These are not public domain but if you want to use some for a painting just drop me a note and ask. I don’t bite.
I was going to write this response to Julia Harrison’s post on her art inspirations in the comments but I realized that it was going to be way too long. So I decided to make a post of my own exploring my influences and inspirations.