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Lawrence Alma-Tadema and the Modern City of Ancient Rome

Elizabeth Prettejohn
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 84, No. 1 (Mar., 2002), pp. 115-129
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3177255
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3177255
Page Count: 15
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Lawrence Alma-Tadema and the Modern City of Ancient Rome
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Abstract

This paper argues that Alma-Tadema's representations of the ancient city of Rome can be seen as significant explorations of urban experience, parallel to the more familiar nineteenth-century representations of modern Paris. Alma-Tadema distinguishes clearly between the small-town environment of Pompeian subjects and the metropolitan environment of pictures set in the capital. Using techniques such as oblique viewpoints and edge cropping, Alma-Tadema presents the "shock" experience characteristic of the modern city in urban theory. The late nineteenth-century notion of the city's modernity thus provides a novel perspective on traditional fascination with Rome as the ultimate paradigm for the urban.

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