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Expectations

by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

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Expectations - Description

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s 1885 oil painting Expectations places the subject on the artist’s beloved curved bench, rendered slightly from previous works but still visually arranged to direct the eye of the viewer at first up the staircase, over the bench’s surface, past the gazing woman and around again to land on the marble floor at her feet. It is a trick used to hold the eye in one particular place, keeping the attention in the foreground and away from the blue sky as it contrasts against the shaded marble. This classically arranged piece has the subject, the woman, facing outward towards the water. Hence the title “Expectations”. Interestingly, her hair is unusually brown when compared to most works by Alma-Tadema who enjoyed painting women with bright red hair. Here the woman covers her eyes some and stares outward at a town seated along the right perimeter of the canvas. The formal elements of this piece embrace the subject, whose garments match the white marble and appear pleasing to the eye. In the foreground, positioned in front of the town, a tree hangs in bloom and balances the painting whose lone subject sits on the other side. The bench, otherwise empty, acts as a middle ground, an empty space purposely void of anything but perfectly balanced horizontal and vertical lines. To the right the steps descend into infinity.

Painting Details

Artwork Name: Expectations

Original Artist: Salvador Dali
Subject: Portraits
Style: Classicism
Medium: 100% Hand-painted on Canvas
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