The Baths of Caracalla Lawrence Alma Tadema Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The highly renowned English artist Lawrence Alma Tadema is responsible for creating the Baths of Caracalla. Lawrence Alma Tadema's work was inspired by the civilizations of Greek, Rome and Ancient Egypt.

He imagined the daily lives of these civilizations with their architectural ruins and came up with detailed compositions with exact accuracy. His painting was also based on his archaeological photographs and travels. In this specific painting, the scene depicts a reconstruction of the baths of the Roman Emperor Caracalla (176-217), which was imagined by Alma Tadema, and can still be found in Rome. The dimensions of the painting are 95 cm (37.40 in.) width by 152 cm (59.84 in.) The original material and medium Tadema used for this piece is oil on canvas. The artist employed romanticism as his style of painting, which is a movement that originated in the 18th century. It emphasized the subjectivity and inspiration of the individual.

The artist also assisted Baron Henry Ley in his studio in 1859, with his monumental frescoes for the Antwerp Town Hall, a factor which boosted his taste for historical themes. In this period, while he worked in Baron Ley’s studio, Tadema made several popular paintings, for example, Venantius Fortunatus Reading his Poems to Radagonda (Dordrecht, Dordrechts Mus.) and the Education of the Children of Clovis(ex-Sir John Pender priv. col.) in 1861 and 1862 consecutively. The paintings are characterized by their uncertain Merovigian subject matter, close attention to detail and sombre colouring.

Tadema's painting, The Bath of Caracalla, like his may artworks has a decadent Merovigian and Roman splendour. The painting is divided into the foreground and background with activities being displayed on both. The composition is very geometric highlighting the Roman architecture. On the foreground there are women fully clothed in robes, they appear to be chatting, oblivious of the activities taking place in the background. The background has people taking a bath. The objects and people on the background appear foreshortened and they become smaller with distance. This technique has been used to give the composition a sense of depth. Tadema paid close attention to detail in this composition, from the folds on the robes the women on the foreground are wearing, to the pillar and to the fine details at the background. The Baths of Caracalla is now in a private collection with its origin in Berlin.