Whispering Noon 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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Lawrence Alma-Tadema did Whispering Noon in 1896, years after settling in London. The piece is an oil on canvas painted in the Romanticism style for which Alma-Tadema became famous.

Whispering Noon is done in a subtle colour combination that provides enough contrast without drawing too much attention. It is in shades of cream, brown and grey. The sky above is in a dirty blue that gives it an almost overcast look. It creates a contrast against the forest in the background.

The painting is of two women sitting outside, one whispering in the other's ear. From their expressions, the two seem to be talking about something, or someone who they have spotted. The woman seated on the left appears to be pointing out something to her companion who then tilts her head and reacts with a knowing look. Looking at their beautiful dresses and shawls, which are of a classical style, the women seem to come from affluence. They are surrounded by expensive marble from the bench they are sitting on to the statue of a child in the middle of a water feature. Alma-Tadema tried to depict the luxury of the Roman era in every painting and Whispering Noon is no exception.

Alma-Tadema built his reputation in the Romanticism era. He painted a series of pieces involving beautiful women fantasising about lovers like Love Votaries, Unconscious Rivals and Love's Jewelled Fetter. True to Alma-Tadema's theme, Whispering Noon has a red-haired model next to a dark-haired one, which adds to the contrast. Later in his career, Alma-Tadema began blending architectural elements that did not play any historical significance to the story being told.

Usually, he included figures from the Roman era simply for aesthetics. They added to the romantic ambience of his theme. In Whispering Noon, one of the props is what looks like a marble vase, perched on the side of the balcony. A bronze statue of a child holding a duck in the middle of a pond is another feature that reinforces Alma-Tadema's style in this art piece. Whispering Noon shows great attention to detail from the folds in the dresses to the clouds in the sky. One can even see the frost that sticks to the tips of the leaves in the trees beyond and the ripples in the pond as water runs from the small fountain. Whispering Noon is now in a private collection after selling at an auction at Sotheby’s New York in 1995.