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FA000038 – The Secret, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1887

Published by: Dani Tabakova 
The Secret. Oil painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1887. FA000038
The Secret. Oil painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1887. FA000038

Part of the One Minute Wonders trail, a story written by one of our volunteers, inspired by objects on display.

By Dani Tabakova

This oil on wood panel painting shows two women from an ancient civilization gossiping in a calm environment.

In true Alma-Tadema style, the painting consists of lavish marble interiors, animal pelts, and a bright domestic scene with a glimpse of the outside. But why?

In the 19th century, the public was fascinated with ancient civilizations. This glorious lifestyle was often portrayed in mythological and domestic works.

Alma-Tadema would often paint ancient Roman, Greek, and Egyptian scenes – many with women relaxing in what was imagined as ancient luxury.

The elements of each ancient scene were intricately studied and executed by the artist – transporting the public of the Victorian era to a fantasy of the past.

The Secret. Oil painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1887. FA000038
The Secret. Oil painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1887. FA000038