Dominic Green

Victorians in Togas

Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity

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As the prices of Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s paintings rise, the question of their value returns. In his lifetime, price and value were equivalent. From his election as a Royal Academician in 1879 to his death in 1912, Alma-Tadema was well paid, popular and – despite Ruskin’s objections – usually tolerated, if not praised, by the critics. But when Victorian art fell from fashion, the value of Alma-Tadema’s works collapsed. In 1955, The Finding of Moses (1904) was bought for its frame. In 1960, Christie’s was unable to sell the painting at all.

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