Lawrence Alma Tadema (1840) rebelled against his parents wishes to practice law. His parents expected their son to carry on his father’s traditional white collar profession. Tadema clearly was born to be an artist. He began to study music, attend regular school, attempt to work in law. Even the strongest influences and attempts failed to hide the fact that this was a painter, born to professional highly respected parents. Understandable of most uniquely gifted artists, he did not relate well to school, teachers and other professionals. School served no purpose preparing him for his chosen profession. School hindered him. His family finally agreed to his full fledged commitment to developing and emerging as an artist. Torn between granting his parents wishes, making considerable effort attend school, and literally giving his life to paint, he suffered a mental nervous breakdown at a very young age. Doctors predicted he would not live beyond 20 years old. Today, Lawrence Alma Tadema’s very true life paintings inspire and are enjoyed by people all over the world. One of his biggest contributions is a religious, sacred painting named Spring. Spring clarifies and brings The Festival of Dionysus lives on through plays, movies, books, articles and Spring.
Many early artists created their works based on religious biblical interpretations. The painting, Spring, reflects early Greek Hellenic religion. Spring symbolizes “The Festival of Dionysus,” an annual spirited, fun, celebration. Dionysus was the God of Fertility in ancient Greek religions.
Nearly all paintings carry messages, direct and subliminaly. Spring, although filled with symbolism, portrays direct messages. Sunless, bright daylight colorings dominate many of Lawrence Alma Tedema’s paintings. Early morning daylight covers the back ground of the Spring painting. The first noticeable impressions about Spring are crowds of people in a festive, religious celebrations centering in the painting. People throw flowers down into the crowds from the second story balcony of the Roman theatre. Flowers represent delicacy, gentleness, daintiness and softness. Flowers emphasized in Spring are neutral colored surrounded in dried grass. Everyone in the crowd is holding or wearing natural looking flowers.
A tower sits in the center of the painting reaching high up into the skylines. The tower contains a huge dome shaped bowl. Flames are coming out of the metallic bowl the tower is holding. This tower is the highest scene in the painting. On the Roman theatre is writing regarding the pot.
Flowers and smoking flames from the pot carries a significant meaning. The Dionysus festivals most definitely involved drinking wine, along with other activities considered inappropriate in today’s society. Yet, Dionysus festivals were highly religious. In Spring, the flowers represent wine in the annual Dionysus celebrations. All men, women and children participants threw wine from the roof tops at Dionysus festivals. The flames of Hestia honored their God. Musical instruments are more than a reflection of Lawrence Alma Tadema’s musical background training. Festivals included music. Spring would definitely be in my collection, and I would purchase it as a gift for someone else. Most people associate Greek theatre with tragedy. Playwrights wanted to make lasting impression on the audience. Many precise details were used in Spring, especially noticeable in the Roman building. A high resolution image of Spring can be downloaded at artrenewal.org.
Information for research;
Cohen, Robert, Theatre, Sixth Edition, 2003.