European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
A Reading from HomerMade in Great Britain, Europe
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, English (born Netherlands), 1836 - 1912
Oil on canvas
E1924-4-1The George W. Elkins Collection, 1924
Here, a young poet crowned with a laurel wreath reads from Homer to an audience dressed for a festival. The setting is probably Greece toward the end of the seventh century BCE. The Greek letters in the upper right indicate that the place is dedicated to the poet.
Through attention to details such as architecture and dress, Alma-Tadema evokes scenes of everyday life in ancient Greece and Rome. However, his pictures are rarely entirely archaeologically accurate. For example, while he accurately rendered the ancient musical instrument on the left, a cithara, he also included a type of rose that did not exist before the nineteenth century.
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