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Alma-Tadema et le détournement de la culture savante

Abstract : This article aims at examining the tension that characterizes some representations of Antiquity in the British painting of the 1860s-1890s as well as the critical reception of those works in contemporary periodicals and monographs. The British painters who revived the subjects and forms of Antiquity have been labelled as “Classical Painters” and “Olympians” because of their perceived idealization of Antiquity. And yet the term “Olympian” is highly problematic as it evacuates the ambivalence that characterizes that painting. Such taxonomy indeed evokes the Apollonian while precluding the Dionysian dimension that is in fact present in some of their representations of the antique body. This article first draws on examples taken from Frederick Leighton’s production to show the conflict between the Greek ideal as propounded by the neo-Winckelmannian aesthetic and academic tradition and a more innovative vision of Greek culture that relishes on the more unconventional aspects of paganism. Leighton was in fact deeply influenced by Walter Pater’s revision of Greek culture. Alma-Tadema will then be placed alongside Leighton, as he too aimed at exploring the pagan and Dionysian dimensions in his own representations of rituals. The return to Greece in painting was therefore riddled with contradictions, but it contributed in the re-definition of the aesthetics associated with Antiquity.
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Contributor : Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, April 12, 2019 - 3:37:55 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02093255, version 1



Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada. Alma-Tadema et le détournement de la culture savante. Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens, Montpellier : Centre d'études et de recherches victoriennes et édouardiennes, 2010, pp.453-64. ⟨hal-02093255⟩



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