The ‘silent greeting’ of the title is the gift of flowers that the young Roman soldier leaves for the sleeping woman. The subject was inspired by The Visit, a poem by the German poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
A Silent Greeting
30.5 x 22.9 cm
Oil on wood
Date of work
Original: Oil on wood 30.5 x 22.9 cm ® Tate, London
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a painter of Dutch birth. He studied at Antwerp Academy in 1852, where he developed a taste for historical themes. In 1863 he travelled to Italy, where his exploration of Pompeii turned his attention from the Dark Ages to the Ancient World. Thereafter, a progressive lightening of his palette softened the darker colours of his earlier work and introduced a new luminosity to paintings. During the 1870s and 1880s Alma-Tadema rose to professional and social prominence in the Victorian art world and by 1873 he was a member of the Old Water-Colour Society.