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by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

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Pleading - Description

The bitter sight of desperation dominates the mood of Victorian artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s 1891 painting Pleading. This smaller piece, completed in the year 1876, measures at only about twelve by fifteen inches. Its strength is immediately recognized in the troubled faces of the seated duo, classically positioned to take up the majority of space existing in the foreground. The costumes and marble indicate that the scene takes place in antiquity. The setting is closed off by positioning the observer at a level that cannot see over the marble wall. Only through the evidence of other works by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema indicate that the thin streak of blue along the horizon belongs to an ocean. Behind the wall, a growing bush shows the constant struggle of living around nature that Alma-Tadema employs. It seems to be creeping over the edge, encroaching onto the marble space constructed by humans. Adding to this argument is the single rose on the bench next to the woman which creates life and death at polar opposites of this piece, balancing it. The woman’s head is red, typical of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. While great emphasis is placed on the surrounding details, Alma-Tadema made it a point to place the humans in the center of the piece to highlight their private struggle, forever leaving open to interpretation the classic meaning of what is being pleaded.

Painting Details

Artwork Name: Pleading

Original Artist: Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Subject: Portraits
Style: Classicism
Medium: 100% Hand-painted on Canvas
Shipping Cost: FREE
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