Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every coffee table should have one, 13 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Hardcover)
This is a beautifully bound edition, printed on high quality paper. Open it and you soon discover page after page of lush colour plates. However, this is more than a picture book, as the plates are accompanied by text that is every bit as colourful. Barrow clearly knows her subject, and she provides informative and concise commentary on Tadema's work. She also avoids the trap of becoming sidetracked into the flawed argument that Tadema's work was expertly produced but ultimately vacuous tosh for which wealthy philistines would pay high prices. Instead, while covering this argument, she focuses on the content of his pictures, the subject matter, and the humour that Tadema often injected into his pictures.
The book is arranged chronologically, beginning with Tadema's earliest exhibited works, and progressing through his career to, at the end, examples of works that remain unfinished.
The list of works at the back of the book is not exhaustive, and some works mentioned in the text are not present as plates, but this hardly detracts from what is an attractive and enjoyable book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luxurious book - great read, great pictures, 29 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Hardcover)
Elegantly written so that the text, while being informative and
erudite, is a constant pleasure to read. We get a sense of the man and
a detailed discussion of his paintings (complemented by the fine
illustrations). The analysis of classical sources is both fascinating
and accessible to those without prior knowledge of the ancient world.
Lots of new material and pictures not reproduced elsewhere. Playful,
provocative, learned and readible, it is unequalled by any other book
on the market on Alma-Tadema. Essential reading for anyone interested
in Victorian painting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy the wrong book, 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Hardcover)
Please note: the review from "A Customer" is for the R.J.Barrow monograph on Alma-Tadema from Phaidon published in 2001, and NOT for the one by Edmund Swinglehurst from the Fine Art Series as advertised above, so if you want the Barrow monograph, which is 207 pages long, DON'T order this one.
Amazon has conflated two different books into one item. I suspect that all three reviews may be for the Barrow book which you can find by clicking on both the "Hardback" options. One of them has a different cover, and you will see the author's name (Barrow) on the cover photo.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging Subversions beneath Exquisite Surfaces?, 21 Nov 2011
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Paperback)
Laurence Alma-Tadema is one of those Victorian painters whose works appear now and again as contributions to various exhibitions, but only in ones or twos. His works are widely but thinly spread, so the galleries in which his works appear will again only have just the one example, sometimes only a few more. Thus we only ever seem to see his work in dribs and drabs, failing to appreciate his skills in any depth. This book goes some way to put right that failure.

Straightaway, it needs to be said that the book lives up to the usual high standards of Phaidon publishers. Although Alma-Tadema painted mostly on relatively small canvases, one can only wish that many of the paintings in this book were reproduced in greater size. (Alas, so many of them are in private collections.) As well as his paintings, the book includes examples of his work as an interior decorator and architect. A whole chapter is also devoted to his work as a stage designer in the theatre, including costumes as well as sets for historical productions.

Rosemary Barrow's work comprises an introduction and twelve chapters. In the introduction she notes how, "Personality and painting aside, his career itself constitutes a remarkable achievement: that a boy from Friesland should grow up to become one of the most admired and successful artists in Victorian Britain." Before reading this book, in my own mind I had grouped Alma-Tadema with the likes of Burne-Jones, Leighton, Waterhouse; a lush synthesis of the early work of the Pre-Raphaelites with strong strands of the Aesthetic movement. We see blue skies and white marble, and Barrow describes much of his late work as "one eternal sunny afternoon".

It was a surprise, therefore, to be told by Barrow that three-quarters of Alma-Tadema's output has the classical world as its subject: "With their play of light, soft colour-harmonies, gorgeous textures and settings of marbled interiors and sunny Mediterranean sea scapes, it is not surprising that these works exercise a lasting sensuous appeal. But more than this, ... Alma-Tadema presents a plausible visualisation of antiquity and an intriguing construction of ancient political and social life." Barrow insists, therefore, that Alma-Tadema is not just about Victorians dressed up in togas. Rather, she tells us her book "is a reassessment and a revaluation of the paintings themselves."

The twelve chapters are arranged in three parts: his early career, his establishment as a successful artist, and final honours. She follows the painter's journey both geographically - his visit to the site of Pompeii on his honeymoon is described as an epiphany - and chronologically. Alma-Tadema began his professional career in his native Holland, painting the world of Merovingian Gaul, before `progressing' to Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Barrow is quite insistent on arguing Alma-Tadema's devotion towards historical verisimilitude, and the examples given are quite sophisticated and convincing, both in their style and content. Indeed, Barrow's book includes reproductions of the painter's own photographs of archaeological finds on which he would base the form of various objects inhabiting his chosen scenes, scenes famous and scenes of the everyday.

For example, when Alma-Tadema painted his `Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to this Friends', the artist has skilfully shown the frieze in unexpectedly bright colours under subdued lighting and not as plain marble. Barrow writes, "Through the use of archaeological and literary references, Alma-Tadema charges the educated viewer to rethink traditional constructions" of the ancient world. Barrow claims that in his lifetime, critiques of his work were based mostly on his archaeological accuracy and his aesthetic effect, but not on the potentially subversive effect (mainly sexual) of the content: "Only now is critical debate beginning to engage with the range of meanings in his canvases."

This is part of the re-assessment that is the purpose of her book. As well as subversion of contemporary mores, Barrow also sees some irony, especially when Alma-Tadema included himself in a scene. She takes John Singer Sargent's remark - that Alma-Tadema's work was clever but not art - as perceptive: "While most critics concentrated on describing and not analysing his works, Sargent acknowledges, if negatively, their intellectual content." Sargent's work appealed to the senses; Alma-Tadema's to both the senses and the intellect.

After his death, Roger Fry compared Alma-Tadema's work to `highly-scented soap', and one can understand the sense of frustration, for there are only so many beautiful Roman-coutured and -coiffured women lounging on marble benches longing forlornly by the sea that one can take. Alma-Tadema recognised that he had found his groove and that he must continue to work in it, "but at the same time I must not merely repeat myself."

Barrow concludes that, "The defining feature of Alma-Tadema's work is arguably challenging subversions beneath exquisite surfaces." Note the word `arguably', but she also concedes that if this were so, then contemporaries as learned as Alma-Tadema were either ignorant or dumbly complicit in these supposed subversions. Whatever, it's time that Lawrence Alma-Tadema had his own show so that we can make our own judgement. In the meantime, Barrow's excellent book provides us with much food for thought.

Endnotes, a bibliography, and two indices bring up the book's rear.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars love this book, 20 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Paperback)
had just been to a NADFAS lecture about this guy, although already have prints on my walls at home. Still reading it, lots of information about him, and the pictures are beautiful
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful book, 26 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Paperback)
bought for my wife and art fan - who loves it - high quality picture reproductions, lovely looking book, looks and feels of the highest quality, wife says the content is excellent....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book packed with 100s of stunning paintings, 28 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Paperback)
Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a superb artist. Enjoyed the exhibition, but I never bought the book. Corrected that and purchased it off Amazon. The book is glorious, full of many of his amazing paintings as well as a lot about his life and times. Transport yourself back into a Victorian's view of Rome.. if only it really had been like that (but then again, there is always Spartacus or Rome: The series to watch as our versions of the Alma-Tadema art)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Paperback)
beautiful book
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Lawrence Alma-Tadema by Rosemary Barrow (Paperback - 1 Sep 2003)
£22.01
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews