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Title Autumn: Vintage Festival
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Alma-Tadema, Lawrence (Dutch and British painter, 1836-1912)
Date 1877 (dated)
Signed yes
Description One of four paintings illustrating the seasons. The offering of a libation to Bacchus at the storage of the year's vintage. The bacchante wears a leopard skin and ivy wreath, traditional symbols of the cult of Bacchus. As Rosemary Barrow notes (Alma-Tadema exh. cat., 1996-97), unlike the artist's other bacchantes, this figure imitates a particular classical prototype: her Greek style drapery, falling in vertical sculpture-like ripples and grooves, and her leaping pose are based on dancing maenad relief figures. Alma-Tadema is known to have possessed a photograph of a maenad relief from the Conservatori Museum, Rome. She pours wine from a ram's head rhyton over a flaming brazier supported by a bronze tripod. An archaic looking bronze herm of Bacchus in the top right oversees the ritual. The reds and golds of this painting suit the autumnal theme.
Current Accession Number 1911P62
Former Accession Number P.62´11
Inscription front lr 'L. ALma Tadema O.P.CLXXIII'; front (on the jar) 'HERCULAN NONI'
Subject mythology (Bacchic feast)
Measurements 75.3 x 38.1 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by the family of Alfred Morcom 1911.
Provenance Murrieta collection; Marquis de Santurce; Marquis de Santurce sale, Christie's, 16 June 1883, lot 179, bought in; Baron J. H. Schroder; Christie's sale, 28 April 1894, lot 56, bought by Gooden; G. E. Bellis, 1911.
Principal Exhibitions Royal Academy, 1877, cat. no. 119; Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester as Festival of the Vintage, 1887, cat. no. 316; Alma Tadema Exhibition, Burlington House, London, 1913, cat. no. 69; Peintures et Aquarelles Anglaises 1700 - 1900 de Musée de Birmingham, Musée des Beaux Arts, Lyon, 1966, cat. no. 6; British Royal Family Exhibition, Special Gallery, Seibu Department Store, Tokyo, 1967, cat. no. 87; Victorian Dreamers: Masterpieces of Neo-Classical and Aesthetic Movements in Britain, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Kofu, Japan, 1989, cat. no. 34; Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 1996, and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1997; Simeon Solomon Exhibition, 2006 [?]
Publications Hubbard, H. A Hundred Years of Painting, 1951; Becker, E., E. Morris, E. Prettejohn and J. Treuherz (eds), Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1997, p. 200; Victorian Dreamers: Masterpieces of Neo-Classical and Aesthetic Movements in Britain, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Kofu, Japan, 1989, p. 62; Swanson. V. G., Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, thesis, Courtauld Institute, 1994, p. 53.
Notes The inscription 'OP CLXXIII' is the opus number of the painting, which Alma-Tadema, following the practice of composers, customarily gave to his work. The other three seasons were exhibited with this one at the R.A. 1877 as nos. 117, 118 and 120. Sepia record photograph of this work in file suggests a major re-painting - re-modelling of the face, hair, banding on torch, removal of smoke from tripod, removal of floral detailing behind it, addition of base to herm, revision of torch flame etc. Possibly done by Alma-Tadema himself with the re-lining of the picture (?).
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth

 

 

 

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