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A Reading from Homer

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, English (born Netherlands), 1836 - 1912

Made in Great Britain, Europe


Oil on canvas

36 1/8 inches × 6 feet 1/4 inches (91.8 × 183.5 cm) Framed: 51 inches × 7 feet 3 inches × 3 3/8 inches (129.5 × 221 × 8.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 255, European Art 1850-1900, second floor (Rishel Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The George W. Elkins Collection, 1924

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1800 [x]   4 men 1 women [x]   7th century bc [x]   a couple holding hands [x]   a greek woman [x]   a man telling a story [x]   bernie [x]   cloth [x]   cloth clothed greek people [x]   entertainment [x]   european [x]   five greek people [x]   flowers [x]   grapes [x]   greece [x]   greek dudes [x]   greek letters [x]   greek people chillin [x]   harp [x]   instrument thing [x]   laurel wreath [x]   leaf crowns [x]   listening to a story. [x]   neoclassical [x]   oil [x]   oil paint [x]   old [x]   pentimento [x]   people [x]   pile of clothing on the floor [x]   pillars [x]   relaxed atmosphere [x]   robes just tossed in the floor [x]   roman architecture [x]   rose’s [x]   scroll [x]   sea [x]   smooth surfaces [x]   stone chairs/benches [x]   story-telling [x]   strange clothing [x]   strangely wierd [x]   tambourine [x]   teacher [x]   water [x]  

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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.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.