Lourens Alma Tadema

Lourens Alma Tadema (Dronrijp, January 8, 1836 – Wiesbaden, June 25, 1912),

also known as Laurens Alma Tadema and Lawrence Alma-Tadema (since May 24, 1899 Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema), was a Dutch-British painter who worked according to the academic tradition. He was one of the most renowned painters of late 19th century Britain.

Lourens _Alma _Tadema_ Art_Pierre (Dronrijp, January 8, 1836 - Wiesbaden, June 25, 1912

Lourens Alma Tadema



He was born in Frisian Dronrijp and……………..


went to school in Leeuwarden. After his training as a painter at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Tadema first worked in Belgium for about ten years, before settling in London in 1870, where he would spend the rest of his life. As a painter he stood out with a classic choice of subject, smooth finish and realistic fabric expression. He became famous for his historical portrayals of luxury and decadence in the Roman Empire, with longing figures in beautiful marble interiors, depicted against a backdrop of a dazzling blue Mediterranean Sea or an azure blue sky.



Although he was admired during his life for his depictions of classical antiquity, his work fell into disgrace after his death and especially after the First World War, after which it was completely ignored for about forty years – not by chance just during the heyday of modernism. Only at the end of the sixties the interest in his work increased again, primarily because of his importance for 19th-century English art. Since the end of the 20th century astronomical prices have been paid for his works to an increasing extent.


The painter who later would be known under slightly different names was born as Lourens Alma Tadema. He was the sixth child of Pieter Jiltes Tadema (1797-1840), the village nun, who had three sons from a previous marriage, and the third child of his mother, Hinke Dirks Brouwer (around 1800-1863). Hinke Brouwer was the half-sister of the first wife of Pieter Tadema. Her first child died at a young age and the second child was Artje (around 1834-around 1876), Lourens’ sister, whom he was particularly fond of – his first opus number became a portrait of Artje. Tadema is an old Frisian family name, while the names Lourens and Alma came from his godfather, an uncle of his mother.Lourens would later use the English first name Lawrence as first name and add the name Alma to his surname, so that his name at the beginning of exhibition catalogs, under the “A” instead of under the “T”. He himself did not use a dash between his two surnames; it was introduced by others and has since become the convention.



Both parents came from the Baptist community of Bolsward. The Tadema family moved in 1838 from the small town of Dronrijp to the nearby city of Leeuwarden. Here he lived at the Uniabuurt number 8, where now café De Ossekop is located. His father died when Lourens was four years old. His mother was left with five children: Lourens, his older sister, Artje, and the three older boys from his father’s first marriage. His mother loved art and decided that drawing lessons would be part of the education of children. Lourens was taught by a local draftsman who was hired to teach his older half-brothers.

Lourens visited the gymnasium in Leeuwarden. The intention was that he would study law before becoming a lawyer, but at fifteen he collapsed physically and mentally in 1851. Tering, they thought and the expectation was that he had only a short life to live. He got the freedom to spend the rest of his life on drawing and painting. Left to his fate, however, he regained his health and decided to pursue a career as an artist.

Kind regards Pierre

Art Pierre

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