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sustains the student through the great labours necessary in order to accomplish any real work. Many of these who fill the art schools idle half their time away; but our student, whose great career lay yet unknown before him, would work through the night as well as through the day, studying anatomy during the dark hours when colour cannot be used; or, if he did not remain at work through the night, he would rise at four or five to return to it. This great power of application is the first necessary, after genius, for a great career.
Mr. Tadema had the advantage of studying under a rare teacher. While he was at Antwerp his master was the Baron H. Leys, who was represented in our Academy Exhibition of 1868 by a very remarkable picture, full of the artist's peculiarities of taste and style, making it particularly interesting to all who admire his school. Baron Leys is a stern artist who cares not to tempt by simple beauty of human face or form, but yet whose power is so extraordinary that he can take us with him into a group of ugly Flemings with all the stupidity of three centuries ago in their countenances, and by sheer power interest us in them. His ability in detail and colouring are extraordinary. The picture is a version in oil of one of a series of frescoes which Baron Leys was engaged to do by his fellowcitizens for their Town Hall. Antwerp is a notable city, and certainly possessed at that time a public spirit and an appreciation for art which richer cities might well imitate. This series is a splendid set of historical pictures, and forms a fine instance of the great painter's power. Baron Leys has left a widespread influence behind him; although he died in his prime, yet he had accomplished a great deal of work, and what is more important to us in reference to our present subject, he had the now somewhat unusual distinction of having formed several great painters. Baron Leys was an ardent student of the Antique, but in this respect his pupil, Mr. Alma Tadema, would be considered to have outstripped him in thoroughness of devotion.
Long before Baron Leys passed out of this life, at too early an age, his distinguished pupil had begun to accumulate honours. In 1864 he obtained a gold medal at Paris; a second-class medal at the International Exhibition at Paris in 1867, and a gold medal at Berlin in 1872.
He became a member of the Academy of Fine Arts at Amsterdam in 1862, Knight of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) in 1866, Knight of the Dutch Lion in 1868, Knight first class of the Order of St. Michael of Bavaria in 1869, Member of the Royal Academy of Munich in 1871, Knight of the Legion of Honour (France) in 1873, Member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours in 1873, Member of the Royal Academy of Berlin in 1874; Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy, 1877; Knight Third Class of the Kronenorder, Prussia ; First class medal, Paris, 1878; Honorary Professor of the Royal
Academy of Naples, 1878; Member of the Royal Academy of Stockholm, 1878; Member of the Imperial Academy of Vienna, 1878; Member of the Royal Academy of Madrid, 1879; Officer of the Legion of Honour, 1879. In January, 1873, he received letters of denization from the Queen of England, having resolved to reside permanently in this country.
His principal paintings even are too numerous to catalogue ; how impossible it is to do more than touch upon a favourite here and there will be seen when we mention that the artist has now reached Opus 210.
“ The Education of the Grandchildren of Clotilde" was an important picture, exhibited in 1861 ; from that time till now there has been an incessant stream from his studio of works of more or less exquisite beauty. Upon the easel now stands a delicious little picture of a cornfield-one of those concentrations of a world of beauty into a small space in which he so excels—and it is hard indeed to say which of the grand pictures that have appeared in successive exhibitions one really prefers to this last sweet small gem. Yet some of these classic scenes so marvellously realised, worked out with such consummate skill, are wonderful to remember. The names of some of the more important will recall visions of beauty to all haunters of picture galleries. We give the titles of some of the best known since “ The Education of the Grandchildren of Clotilde."
“Venantius Fortunatus at Radagonde,” 1862; “How they amused themselves in Egypt 3000 years ago," 1863; “Fredegonda and Præter. tatus,” 1864 ; “Egyptian Game,” 1865; “ The Soldier of Marathon," 1865; Catullus at Lesbia's," 1865; “Entrance to a Roman Theatre,” 1866; “Agrippina Visiting the Ashes of Germanicus," 1866; “A Roman Dance," 1866; “ The Mummy,” 1867 ; " Tarquinius Superbus,” 1867; “The Siesta," 1868; “ Phidias and the Elgin Marbles," 1868; “Flowers," 1868; “Flower Market," 1868;" A Roman Amateur," 1868; “ Pyrrhic Dance," 1869; "A Negro," 1869; “The Convalescent," 1869; “A Wine Shop," 1869; "A Juggler," 1870; "A Roman Amateur," 1870; "The Vintage,” 1870; "A Roman Emperor," 1871 ; "Une Fête Intime,” 1871 ;“ The Greek Pottery,” 1871 ; “ Reproaches,” 1872; "The Mummy” (Roman Period), 1872; “The Improvisatore,” 1872; “A Halt," 1872; “Death of the First-born," 1872; “Greek Wine,"1872;" The Dinner," 1873; “The Siesta," 1873; "The Cherries,” 1873; “ Fishing," 1873; “ Joseph, Overseer of Pharoah's Granaries,” 1874; “A Sculpture Gallery,” 1874; “A Picture Gallery,” 1874; “Autumn," 1874; "Good Friends," 1874; “On the Steps of the Capitol,” 1874; and “ Water Pets,” 1874. Mr. Alma Tadema's exhibited pictures of the last few years are so familiar to the picture-loving public that it is almost superfluous to speak of them. Every year his wonderful draperies and cool marbles and marvellous studies of colour-harmony make bright spots
upon the walls of our exhibition rooms. The sun rays that have penetrated into our artist's studio since first he began his extraordinary artistic career have never been wasted; and though he may turn some pictures to the wall in disgrace, we cannot complain when we think of what he has given us in the last eighteen years.
The French international exhibition of 1867 contained two pictures of Alma Tadema's, both studies of Roman life, full of originality and interest. In The Portico of a Roman Theatre two patrician ladies and a child have just descended from their bronze chariot and are entering the building. One of the ladies who is last to step from the cirium is dressed in a garment of cinnamon colour bordered with an Assyrian design, and a blue coif. A little crowd of plebeians look on with interest; and the elder lady, who with the child has advanced into the building, is meeting with stately dignity the eager greeting of a stout Roman gentleman and his wife, who evidently is somewhat too " loud" in her appearance to please the stately patrician matron. Mr. Tadema has studied the details of this ancient life so perfectly that he brings home to us its very atmosphere, and indeed his work comes as something of a revelation even to those sublimely educated persons, the critics. A man must be a competent archæologist before he can say much about such pictures as these. It is said that large purchases are made at foreign exhibitions for America, and many of Mr. Alma Tadema's pictures find their final homes in that young country which is so eager to seize upon the results of European education. Thus it is difficult to measure our artist's work, as indeed is the case with most contemporary artists. The pictures are immured in private collections and are inaccessible for the purposes of comparison or criticism.
A very interesting picture, to those who know the artist's beautiful studio, and his children, is the one which was hung in the Dudley gallery, in 1873, under the title of “ This is our Corner.” It is a painting of his two girls idling with their picture books in the recess of the studio which they regard as their own. It is a simply painted incident of modern domestic life, and yet it somehow carries one back into the atmosphere of the ancient world. Perhaps a particular reason for this effect is that the elder of the two children has her hair arranged after the quaint Egyptian fashion, fringing the forehead, and drawn forward over
In 1875 the “Water Pets” was in the Academy Exhibition, and, although hung too low, could not but attract the eye, from its exquisite colouring. A Roman girl lies at full length on her cushions, which are upon an inlaid pavement, painted as perhaps only Mr. Alma Tacema can paint an inlaid pavement. She is idly feeding her fishes; her dress is dark blue, her hair is tied with a cluster of yellow flowers.
In 1876 we had one of Mr. Alma Tadema's grand pictures, which give scope to this modern master to put forth his great strength. It was the “Audience at Agrippa's.” Agrippa himself in bis red robe, descends a flight of steps towards us; in the court above he has left one company, while at the foot of the stairs, beneath a statue of the Emperor, wait a group of other suitors. The scene is grand, yet very simple; but its execution is positively majestic. Those stairs of marble-how cool, how wonderful, how absolutely real they are. tiger rug lies upon one of the lower steps; it is as wonderful as the marble, and the contrast is very fine. Who that has seen that picture but must feel that he has waited in Agrippa's hall, has stooped before his presence, and drawn the low breath of wonder at the cool splendour of his marble palace ? In the same exhibition was that most lovely picture “After the Dance,” in which Mr. Tadema seems to have shown the fact that he is no painter of marble only, but that the human form is also his by right of power. All our attention is drawn to the tired figure of the dancer, whose limbs are modelled in a positively marvellous manner.
In the Academy of 1877 were four charming pictures representing the seasons, and although each in itself forms a separate work, the whole pass through an interesting variation of colour; also a picture called “ Between Hope and Fear,” one of those delicious studies of colour and texture which, from Mr. Alma Tadema's hand, are a continual delight to gaze upon.
The grand picture of “The Death of the First-born,” exhibited first in 1872, is now again in the artist's possession. It is not, apparently, so popular as some other of Mr. Tadema's works, which is a very singular thing, as it shows that the public does not appreciate work which comes out of the very heart and soul of the artist, but, even from its avowed favourites, prefers simple beauty. In this picture there is a magic which is quite independent of the artistic beauty of the work. There is the grand spirit of old Egypt in the face of the Pharoah ; the patience, the calm, the spiritual dignity of which there is now left to us only the artistic expression. The quality itself is something more dignified than anything known to modern human nature. How deep the grief, yet how sublime the patience expressed in that face of Pharoah. His firstborn, pallid with death, lies across his knees ; the doctor, useless, his skill exhausted, sits motionless and subdued; the offerings (for Pharoah, who is high priest as well as king, has come into the temple, and not until his gods refuse to work a miracle, yielded to despair)the offerings are there in front of Pharoah useless. The mother has flung herself in passionate sorrow upon her child; but Pharoah sits upright supporting them, looking before him into the fathomless future which he faces fearless. “ Pharoah cannot weep like any other man !” The chastened majesty of that kingly face has something so startling in it, so real, that it is more like gazing upon an Egyptian spirit returned to earth to reveal his stern dignity to us than looking at a thing of brush and palette. Mr. Tadema's deep interest in the ancient Egyptian nation, its splendid civilisation, its deep thought and immense knowledge, has led him to put an intense reality into this wonderful picture. It is little marvel if the work is less popular than others: the public likes what it can easily understand. Such pictures as those exhibited in the Grosvenor of 1877 are much more calculated to catch the popular taste. Some of them were miracles of condensation, more beauty being compressed into a few inches than any ordinary mortal would have supposed possible; “ The Fountain,” for instance—an atom of canvascontained a whole world of beauty, and that, too, of a sort very easily understood. It is the beauty of merry girlhood, of cool sparkling water. In the centre of the picture is a great green sphinx in bronze, flinging a shower of water upon a gleeful girl who stoops beneath it. Down the steps comes an attendant with a bundle of towels; there are girls bathing in the tank, and the colour of their limbs through the water is very beautiful. But what coolness, and mirth, and laugh of splashing waters, there is in the picture!-and it is only about eleven by two and a half inches in size.
Mr. Tadema painted a number of these small pictures at a time when his studio was out of order in consequence of some damage done by the Regent's Park explosion. He made a much smaller room into his studio for the time being, and, having limited space and light, reduced his canvasses to these dainty proportions. But the public has been no loser, for Mr. Tadema is one of those artists who can put as much into a small picture as into a large one.
There are three pictures of Mr. Alma Tadema's now hanging in the foyer of the St. James's Theatre which alone make it worth paying a visit to that elaborately decorated house.
One of Mr. Alma Tadema's most recent and most charming pictures is called “My Sister is not at Home.” It is a curious conception, but a very pretty one. It shows the interior of a Roman chamber floored with mosaic, lined with white marble and decorated with sculptures. The dark green curtain has been drawn across the doorway, and of the two Roman ladies who are in the room, one holds her arm against the doorway to bar the way of a gentleman who is apparently an unwelcome visitor, but who, with the usual tenacity of unwelcome visitors, puts his head round the edge of the curtain. The picture is bright, even humorous; the colouring is very rich and deep.
In the Royal Academy of last May we had another realistic picture of that antique past which lives now only in memories like this. It is simply called “A Hearty Welcome”—a welcome given by a Roman mother to her daughter, whom she comes to meet in the poppy