Jan Fabre is a Belgian multidisciplinary artist, stage director and designer. Fabre studied at the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, between 1976 en 1980 he wrote his first scripts for the theatre and did his first solo performances. During his money-performances, he burned money and wrote the word MONEY with the ashes, in 1978 he made drawings with his own blood during the solo performance My body, my blood, my landscape. In 1980, in The Bic-Art Room, he had locked up for three days and three nights in a white cube full of objects, drawing with blue Bic ballpoint pens as an alternative to Big art. Fabre established in 1986 the Troubleyn/Jan Fabre theatre company with international operations, its home base is Antwerp. Der Palast um vier Uhr morgens, die Reinkarnation Gottes Das Glas im Kopf wird vom Glas The Sound of one hand clapping Sweet Temptations She was and she is, even Wie spreekt mijn gedachte. In 1990 he covered an entire building with ballpoint drawings, Fabre explores relationships between drawing and sculpture and has made sculptures in bronze and with beetles.
His decoration of the ceiling of the Royal Palace in Brussels, in 2004 he erected Totem, a giant bug stuck on a 70-foot steel needle, on the Ladeuzeplein in Leuven. In 2008, Fabres The Angel of Metamorphosis exhibition was held at the Louvre Museum, in September 2016 Fabre made an attempt to not break cyclist Eddy Merckxs 1972 hour record at the Tête dOr Velodrome in Lyon. Fabre completed a total of 23 km in an hour, compared to Merckxs record of over 49 km, Fabre described the attempt as how to remain a dwarf in the land of giants. Animal welfare executive chairman Luc Bungeneers said he was having a meeting with his party chairman when he heard howling cats, to my horror, we found cats were being assaulted in the name of art, Bungeneers said. It went on for several hours, the filming was eventually aborted after protests from the crews own technicians. Later that day, Fabre claimed all cats were still in good health, Fabre received 20,000 emails slamming his act. He had attacked seven times by men carrying clubs whilst out jogging in the park.
Antwerps deputy mayor for animal well-being and the animal rights organisation Global Action in the Interest of Animals launched complaints about Fabres controversial act. Then in February 2016, Jan Fabre was appointed by the Greek Ministry of Culture as the Creative Director of the annual Athens – Epidaurus Festival. In October 2016, the Russian State Hermitage museum staged a Fabre exhibition which drew a lot of criticism from visitors, stuffed animals in strange poses sparked outcry among Russian social media network users who launched a campaign under the hashtag #позорэрмитажу, or Shame on you, Hermitage. The number of posts in Instagram tagged this way amounted to nearly 10,000 by late November, the museum organized an event to meet the public and explain the exhibition after refusing to stop the exhibition which is slated to last up to April 2017
Roderic OConor was an Irish painter. Spending much of his career in Paris and as part of the Pont-Aven movement. Born in Milltown, County Roscommon, Ireland, OConor attended the Metropolitan School and he studied at Ampleforth College, and like his classmate, Richard Moynan, travelled to Antwerp before moving to Paris to gain further experience. While in France, he was influenced by the Impressionists, in 1892 OConor went to Pont-Aven in Brittany where he worked closely with a group of artists around the Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin, whom he befriended. His method of painting with textured strokes of contrasting colours owed much to Van Gogh and his nephew, Patrick OConnor, was a painter as well as a sculptor. OConor died in Nueil-sur-Layon, France in March 1940, in March 2011 a work by OConor sold for £337,250. Landscape, Cassis, an oil-on-canvas, was painted by OConor in the south of France in 1913, Irish Academic Press, Dublin 1992, ISBN 978-0-71652-492-2
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV of Spain was King of Spain and Portugal as Philip III. He ascended the thrones in 1621 and reigned in Spain until his death, Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the challenging period of the Thirty Years War. Philip IV was born in Valladolid, and was the eldest son of Philip III and his wife, Philip had seven children by Elisabeth, with only one being a son, Balthasar Charles, who died at the age of sixteen in 1646. The death of his son deeply shocked the king, who appears to have been a father by the standards of the day. Philip remarried in 1646, following the deaths of both Elisabeth and his legitimate heir. Perceptions of Philips personality have altered considerably over time, victorian authors were inclined to portray him as a weak individual, delegating excessively to his ministers, and ruling over a debauched Baroque court. Victorian historians even attributed the death of Baltasar to debauchery.
The doctors who treated the Prince at that time in fact diagnosed smallpox, Philip was idealised by his contemporaries as the model of Baroque kingship. Philip was a horseman, a keen hunter and a devotee of bull-fighting. Privately, Philip appears to have had a lighter persona, when he was younger, he was said to have a keen sense of humour and a great sense of fun. He privately attended academies in Madrid throughout his reign — these were lighthearted literary salons, aiming to analyse contemporary literature, a keen theatre-goer, he was sometimes criticised by contemporaries for his love of these frivolous entertainments. Others have captured his private personality as naturally kind and affable and those close to him claimed he was academically competent, with a good grasp of Latin and geography, and could speak French and Italian well. Like many of his contemporaries, including Olivares, he had a keen interest in astrology and his handwritten translation of Francesco Guicciardinis texts on political history still exists.
Although Philips Catholic beliefs no longer attract criticism from English language writers, from the 1640s onwards he sought the advice of a noted cloistered abbess, Sor María de Ágreda, exchanging many letters with her. By the end of the reign, and with the health of Carlos José in doubt, there was a possibility of Juan Josés making a claim on the throne. Philip IV came to power as the influence of the Sandovals was being undermined by a new noble coalition, over the course of at least a year, the relationship became very close, with Philips tendency towards underconfidence and diffidence counteracted by Olivares drive and determination. Philip retained Olivares as his confidant and chief minister for the twenty years. Philip himself argued that it was appropriate for the king himself to go house to house amongst his ministers to see if his instructions were being carried out
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits and intentions to non-human entities and is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology. Personification is the attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts such as nations and natural forces like seasons. Both have ancient roots as storytelling and artistic devices, and most cultures have traditional fables with anthropomorphized animals as characters, people have routinely attributed human emotions and behavioural traits to wild as well as domestic animals. Anthropomorphism derives from its verb form anthropomorphize, itself derived from the Greek ánthrōpos and it is first attested in 1753, originally in reference to the heresy of applying a human form to the Christian God. One of the oldest known is a sculpture, the Löwenmensch figurine, Germany. It is not possible to say what these prehistoric artworks represent, in either case there is an element of anthropomorphism. This anthropomorphic art has been linked by archaeologist Steven Mithen with the emergence of more systematic hunting practices in the Upper Palaeolithic.
In religion and mythology, anthropomorphism refers to the perception of a divine being or beings in human form, ancient mythologies frequently represented the divine as deities with human forms and qualities. They resemble human beings not only in appearance and personality, they exhibited many human behaviors that were used to explain phenomena, creation. The deities fell in love, had children, fought battles, wielded weapons and they feasted on special foods, and sometimes required sacrifices of food and sacred objects to be made by human beings. Some anthropomorphic deities represented specific concepts, such as love, fertility, beauty. Anthropomorphic deities exhibited human qualities such as beauty and power, and sometimes human weaknesses such as greed, jealousy, Greek deities such as Zeus and Apollo often were depicted in human form exhibiting both commendable and despicable human traits. Anthropomorphism in this case is referred to as anthropotheism, from the perspective of adherents to religions in which humans were created in the form of the divine, the phenomenon may be considered theomorphism, or the giving of divine qualities to humans.
Anthropomorphism has cropped up as a Christian heresy, particularly prominently with the Audians in third century Syria, but in fourth century Egypt and tenth century Italy. This often was based on an interpretation of Genesis 1,27, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him. Some religions and philosophers objected to anthropomorphic deities. Ethiopians say that their gods are snub–nosed and blackThracians that they are pale and he said that the greatest god resembles man neither in form nor in mind. Both Judaism and Islam reject an anthropomorphic deity, believing that God is beyond human comprehension, judaisms rejection of an anthropomorphic deity grew during the Hasmonean period, when Jewish belief incorporated some Greek philosophy. Judaisms rejection grew further after the Islamic Golden Age in the tenth century, hindus do not reject the concept of a deity in the abstract unmanifested, but note practical problems
Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles. In form, Neoclassical architecture emphasizes the wall rather than chiaroscuro, Neoclassical architecture is still designed today, but may be labelled New Classical Architecture for contemporary buildings. In Central and Eastern Europe, the style is referred to as Classicism. Many early 19th-century neoclassical architects were influenced by the drawings and projects of Étienne-Louis Boullée, the many graphite drawings of Boullée and his students depict spare geometrical architecture that emulates the eternality of the universe. There are links between Boullées ideas and Edmund Burkes conception of the sublime, the baroque style had never truly been to the English taste. The most popular was the four-volume Vitruvius Britannicus by Colen Campbell, the book contained architectural prints of famous British buildings that had been inspired by the great architects from Vitruvius to Palladio.
At first the book featured the work of Inigo Jones. Palladian architecture became well established in 18th-century Britain, at the forefront of the new school of design was the aristocratic architect earl, Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, in 1729, he and William Kent, designed Chiswick House. This House was a reinterpretation of Palladios Villa Capra, but purified of 16th century elements and this severe lack of ornamentation was to be a feature of the Palladianism. In 1734 William Kent and Lord Burlington designed one of Englands finest examples of Palladian architecture with Holkham Hall in Norfolk, the main block of this house followed Palladios dictates quite closely, but Palladios low, often detached, wings of farm buildings were elevated in significance. This classicising vein was detectable, to a degree, in the Late Baroque architecture in Paris. This shift was even visible in Rome at the redesigned façade for S, by the mid 18th century, the movement broadened to incorporate a greater range of Classical influences, including those from Ancient Greece.
The shift to neoclassical architecture is conventionally dated to the 1750s, in France, the movement was propelled by a generation of French art students trained in Rome, and was influenced by the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann. The style was adopted by progressive circles in other countries such as Sweden. A second neoclassic wave, more severe, more studied and more consciously archaeological, is associated with the height of the Napoleonic Empire, in France, the first phase of neoclassicism was expressed in the Louis XVI style, and the second in the styles called Directoire or Empire. The Scottish architect Charles Cameron created palatial Italianate interiors for the German-born Catherine II the Great in St. Petersburg, neoclassicism made a discovery of the genuine classic interior, inspired by the rediscoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum. These had begun in the late 1740s, but only achieved an audience in the 1760s
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings and his suicide at 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty. Born into a family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious, quiet. As a young man he worked as an art dealer, often travelling and he turned to religion, and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881 and his younger brother Theo supported him financially, and the two kept up a long correspondence by letter. His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, in 1886 he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility. As his work developed he created a new approach to still lifes and his paintings grew brighter in colour as he developed a style that became fully realised during his stay in Arles in the south of France in 1888.
During this period he broadened his subject matter to include trees, wheat fields. Van Gogh suffered from episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he often neglected his physical health, did not eat properly. His friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor and he spent time in psychiatric hospitals, including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris and his depression continued and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He died from his injuries two days later, Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, and was considered a madman and a failure. He became famous after his suicide, and exists in the imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius. His reputation began to grow in the early 20th century as elements of his style came to be incorporated by the Fauves. The most comprehensive source on Van Gogh is the correspondence between him and his younger brother, Theo.
Their lifelong friendship, and most of what is known of Vincents thoughts, Theo van Gogh was an art dealer and provided his brother with financial and emotional support, and access to influential people on the contemporary art scene. Theo kept all of Vincents letters to him, Vincent kept few of the letters he received, after both had died, Theos widow Johanna arranged for the publication of some of their letters. A few appeared in 1906 and 1913, the majority were published in 1914, Vincents letters are eloquent and expressive and have been described as having a diary-like intimacy, and read in parts like autobiography
William Logsdail was a prolific English landscape and genre painter. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Grosvenor Gallery, the New Gallery and he is notable for his realistic London and Venice scenes and his plein air style. He was born in the Close of Lincoln Cathedral, in Lincoln, England and he was one of seven children, six boys and one girl. His father was a verger at the cathedral, as a boy, William attended Lincoln School, and earned money by guiding visitors up the central tower of the cathedral. Logsdail attended the Lincoln School of Art, where he showed an aptitude for architecture. While there, he won the Gold Medal for his work in competition with students at other English art schools and he went on to study in Antwerp, at the École des Beaux-Arts, under Michel Marie Charles Verlat. While there, he became the first Englishman to win first prize at the School, one of his works from this period, The Fish Market, was bought on behalf of Queen Victoria for Osborne House.
When told of this, Logsdail supposedly commented, Shows her Majestys good sense, in the autumn of 1880, Logsdail visited Venice where he was to remain, with occasional visits to England, the Balkans and the Middle East, until 1900. During this early period in his career, he gravitated towards architectural and he painted some sixty-nine small paintings for the Fine Art Society on the subject of the French and Italian Riviera. Seven of these were sold to the Duke of Westminster, in 1893, Logsdail was awarded a medal for oil painting at the Worlds Columbian Exposition. After spending two years in Taormina and Sicily, he and his family returned to England, settling in West Kensington, where his The Early Victorian was well received. This marked the beginning of a period of painting for Logsdail. In 1912, he was elected as a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, as his career progressed, he turned to flower studies. In 1892, Logsdail met May Ashman of Necton, near Swaffham in Norfolk and he had three children with her In 1922, he and his family moved to Noke, near Islip, where Logsdail remained until his death at the age 85.
Logsdail was a friend of Frank Bramley, who attended Lincoln School of Art and went on to co-found the Newlyn School, while not inclined to openly criticise other artists, Logsdail did, in his memoirs, relate a story concerning Walter Sickert. As he worked on his Ponte della Paglia, Sickert arrived and he began to caper like a master of fence and lunging with sudden stabs at his canvas. An American passing by noticed a button on the pavement, retrieved it and, offering it to Sickert, Excuse me, but I think this has worked loose. Logsdail cultivated a tight objective and realistic style, although his portraiture and his Venice-based works exhibit a high degree of draughtsmanship described as beautiful and nearly photographic
Theodoor Boeyermans was born in Antwerp as the son of Jan Boeyermans, originally from Haarlem who was a long-time resident of Antwerp and Agneta Leermans, a native of Antwerp. His mother was a widow who brough 9 children from her first marriage into the family, the father of Boeyermans died in 1624. Boeyermans received his education in Antwerp. In 1634 his mother obtained a safe conduct allowing her family to stay in Eindhoven in the Dutch Republic, here Boeyermans probably obtained a masters degree. He returned a few times to Antwerp to study and deal with several matters, from 1649 onwards he settled back in his native city where he lived in the house in which he was born and which was called De Gulden Pers. It is not clear with whom he trained as a painter, some historians have suggested a training in van Dyck’s studio in Antwerp. He may have made a trip to Italy and he became a master of the Antwerp guild of St. Luke in 1654 when he was already 34 years old. He remained a bachelor his entire life and he joined the Sodaliteit der Bejaarde Jongmans, a fraternity for elderly bachelors established by the Jesuit order.
He was a member of the Antwerp chamber of rhetoric de Olyftack from 1664 and he collaborated with Dirck van Delen, a Dutch member of de Olyftack, on a large painting entitled Allegory of the Arts which they donated to the chamber of rhetoric in 1666. Marcus Forchondt, son of the art dealer Guillam Forchondt the Elder, was Boeyermans’s pupil in 1670, marcus moved to Vienna to represent the family business but he remained in contact with Boeyermans as is testified by a letter dated September 1677. Boeyermans died in Antwerp in January 1678, Boeyermans dated works are dated between 1660 and 1677. He was mainly a painter of history and allegorical paintings, the artist received many important commissions for churches in his native Antwerp, the Kempen region and in Malines, but made his name in his hometown by painting secular compositions. Together with Jan-Erasmus Quellinus, Boeyermans was one of the last important 17th-century Flemish history painters and his style was influenced by Rubens and van Dyck but he favoured a darker palette than those two artists.
Even as an expressive style was developing in Antwerp, Boeyermans retained a classicist approach in his work. At the same time he championed the more style of van Dyck. His compositions show his sense of balance and repose and his facial types often represent an ideal of beauty. The painting was intended as ceiling decoration of the hall of the Academy for which Jacob Jordaens donated two other ceiling paintings. Boeyermans allegorical painting celebrates Anwerps glorious artistic past and this past is represented by means of the portraits of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, who watch over young students practising the arts
John Duncan (painter)
John Duncan was a Scottish painter. Duncan was born in the Hilltown area of Dundee in 1866, however, had no interest in the family business and preferred the visual arts. By the age of 15 he was submitting cartoons to the local magazine The Wizard of the North and was taken on as an assistant in the art department of the Dundee Advertiser. At the same time he was a student at the Dundee School of Art, in 1887-88 he worked in London as a commercial illustrator, travelled to the continent to study at Antwerp Academy under Charles Verlat and the Düsseldorf Art Academy. In 1889 Duncan returned to Dundee and exhibited in the new Victoria Art Galleries extension of the Albert Institute, the following year he became one of the founder members of the Dundee Graphic Arts Association. Most of his income at this time was derived from portrait commissions, including jute merchant John L Luke, in 1892 Duncan moved to Edinburgh to work with the sociologist and urbanist Patrick Geddes, whom Duncan had met in Dundee.
As part of the Celtic Revival movement, Duncan painted murals for Geddess halls of residence at Ramsay Garden and he became the principal artist for Geddes 1895-97 seasonal magazine The Evergreen. The magazine featured work by Dundee artist Nell Baxter and the decorative artist Robert Burns. Among other subjects, Duncan depicts Bacchus and Silenus in a mythical scene, Duncan acted as director of Geddess short-lived Old Edinburgh School of Art. In 1897 Duncan returned to Dundee and exhibited Celtic and symbolist paintings at the Graphic Arts Association as well as the Royal Scottish Academy and it was at this time that he painted The Glaive of Light now in the University of Dundees collection. He continued to teach art and design, at the Dundee YMCA, the University, thanks to Patrick Geddess influence, in 1900 Duncan was appointed as a Professor at the Chicago Institute founded by Francis Wayland Parker. His stay there was not a one, and after Parkers death he returned to Scotland and settled in Edinburgh.
Duncans last major work was entitled Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringhay, the work was commissioned and is now held by the University of St Andrews. The painting was completed in spite of the critical antagonisms Duncan was facing at the time, a smaller scale replica is held in the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
The Scheldt is a 350-kilometre long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands. Its name is derived from an adjective corresponding to Old English sceald shallow, Modern English shoal, Low German schol, Frisian skol, the headwaters of the Scheldt are in Gouy, in the Aisne department of northern France. It flows north through Cambrai and Valenciennes, and enters Belgium near Tournai, in Ghent, where it receives the Lys, one of its main tributaries, the Scheldt turns east. Near Antwerp, the largest city on its banks, the Scheldt flows west into the Netherlands towards the North Sea, today the river therefore continues into the Westerschelde estuary only, passing Terneuzen to reach the North Sea between Breskens in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and Vlissingen on Walcheren. The Scheldt is an important waterway, and has been navigable from its mouth up to Cambrai. The port of Antwerp, the second largest in Europe, lies on its banks, several canals connect the Scheldt with the basins of the Rhine and Seine, and with the industrial areas around Brussels, Liège, Lille and Mons.
In Roman times, it was important for the lanes to Roman Britain. Nehalennia was venerated at its mouth, the Franks took control over the region about the year 260 and at first interfered with the Roman supply routes as pirates. Later they became allies of the Romans, Antwerp was the most prominent harbour in Western Europe. After this city fell back under Spanish control in 1585, the Dutch Republic took control of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, a strip of land on the left bank, and closed the Scheldt for shipping. Access to the river was the subject of the brief Kettle War of 1784, once Belgium had claimed its independence from the Netherlands in 1830, the treaty of the Scheldt determined that the river should remain accessible to ships heading for Belgian ports. Nevertheless, the Dutch government would demand a toll from passing vessels until 16 July 1863, in the Second World War, the Scheldt estuary once again became a contested area. Paget-Tyrell Memorandum of August 7,1916, Section 6
Peter Paul Rubens
Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish/Netherlandish draughtsman and painter. He is widely considered as the most notable artist of Flemish Baroque art school, the catalogue of his works by Michael Jaffé lists 1,403 pieces, excluding numerous copies made in his workshop. His commissioned works were mostly history paintings, which included religious and mythological subjects and he painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house and he oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the royal entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635. His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not overly detailed and he made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. For altarpieces he painted on slate to reduce reflection problems. Rubens was born in the city of Siegen to Jan Rubens and he was named in honour of Saint-Peter and Paul, because he was born on their solemnety. His father, a Calvinist, and mother fled Antwerp for Cologne in 1568, after increased religious turmoil and persecution of Protestants during the rule of the Spanish Netherlands by the Duke of Alba.
Jan Rubens became the adviser of Anna of Saxony, the second wife of William I of Orange. Following Jan Rubens imprisonment for the affair, Peter Paul Rubens was born in 1577, the family returned to Cologne the next year. In 1589, two years after his fathers death, Rubens moved with his mother Maria Pypelincks to Antwerp, religion figured prominently in much of his work and Rubens became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting. In Antwerp, Rubens received a Renaissance humanist education, studying Latin, by fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the leading painters of the time, the late Mannerist artists Adam van Noort. Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier works, such as woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger. Rubens completed his education in 1598, at time he entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master. In 1600 Rubens travelled to Italy and he stopped first in Venice, where he saw paintings by Titian and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga.
The colouring and compositions of Veronese and Tintoretto had an effect on Rubenss painting. With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome by way of Florence in 1601, there, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA was a Dutch painter of special British denizenship. Born in Dronrijp, the Netherlands, and trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Belgium, he settled in England in 1870, Lourens Alma Tadema was born on 8 January 1836 in the village of Dronrijp in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. The surname Tadema is an old Frisian patronymic, meaning son of Tade, while the names Lourens and he was the sixth child of Pieter Jiltes Tadema, the village notary, and the third child of Hinke Dirks Brouwer. His father had three sons from a previous marriage and his parents first child died young, and the second was Atje, Lourens sister, for whom he had great affection. The Tadema family moved in 1838 to the city of Leeuwarden. His father died when Lourens was four, leaving his mother with five children, his sister and his mother had artistic leanings, and decided that drawing lessons should be incorporated into the childrens education. He received his first art training with a drawing master hired to teach his older half-brothers.
It was intended that the boy would become a lawyer, diagnosed as consumptive and given only a short time to live, he was allowed to spend his remaining days at his leisure and painting. Left to his own devices he regained his health and decided to pursue a career as an artist, in 1852 he entered the Royal Academy of Antwerp in Belgium where he studied early Dutch and Flemish art, under Gustaf Wappers. During Alma-Tademas four years as a student at the Academy. Although de Taeye was not a painter, Alma-Tadema respected him and became his studio assistant. De Taeye introduced him to books that influenced his desire to portray Merovingian subjects early in his career and he was encouraged to depict historical accuracy in his paintings, a trait for which the artist became known. Under his guidance Alma-Tadema painted his first major work, The Education of the children of Clovis and this painting created a sensation among critics and artists when it was exhibited that year at the Artistic Congress in Antwerp.
It is said to have laid the foundation of his fame, Alma-Tadema related that although Leys thought the completed painting better than he had expected, he was critical of the treatment of marble, which he compared to cheese. Alma-Tadema took this very seriously, and it led him to improve his technique and to become the worlds foremost painter of marble. Merovingian themes were the favourite subject up to the mid-1860s. It is perhaps in this series that we find the artist moved by the deepest feeling, however Merovingian subjects did not have a wide international appeal, so he switched to themes of life in ancient Egypt that were more popular. On these scenes of Frankish and Egyptian life Alma-Tadema spent great energy, in 1862 Alma-Tadema left Leyss studio and started his own career, establishing himself as a significant classical-subject European artist