Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (born Lourens Alma Tadema; 8 January 1836, Dronrijp – 25 June 1912, Wiesbaden), Dutch painter resident in England, whose historicist genre paintings are probably the best example of the High Victorian taste for grand and elaborately detailed depictions of Classical Antiquity, especially the luxurious excess of decadent Rome. I'll once again let Wikipedia do the heavy lifting with his biography - they do rather a proper job this time - but I wanted to highlight the lines relating to this very youthful self-portrait:
It was intended that the boy would become a lawyer, but in 1851 at the age of fifteen he suffered a physical and mental breakdown. Diagnosed as consumptive, given only a short time to live, he was allowed to spend his remaining days at his leisure, drawing and painting. Left to his own devices he regained his health and decided to pursue a career as an artist.
This painting was among one of his very first.
|Self-portrait, unknown date.|