Frederic Lord Leighton

Richard Ormond, Author, Benedict Read, With, Stephen Jones, With
Richard Ormond, Author, Benedict Read, With, Stephen Jones, With ABRAMS $49.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3578-5
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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An eclectic, cosmopolitan classicist, English Victorian painter Frederic Leighton (1830-1896) continues to delight and surprise with his seductively poetic visions. His carefully composed pictures of elegant women fuse implicit sensuality, gorgeous color and fantastic juxtapositions. Leighton, elected president of London's Royal Academy in 1878, trained in Florence, Berlin, Rome, Frankfurt and Paris, and by synthesizing diverse influences--Pre-Raphaelites, Venetian masters, the German Nazarene school, French classicism, etc.--he reimagined Greek mythology and the ancient world in boldly dramatic works suffused with mystery. His output includes pencil and silverpoint studies of flowers and plants, seascapes awash in elemental power, strikingly evocative portraits and naturalistic travel paintings full of exotic charm. The catalogue of an exhibition at the Royal Academy, this beautifully illustrated, full-scale reassessment, featuring essays by British art historians, should help dispel the facile stereotype of Leighton as the archetypal academic artist. (May)
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