Sunday, January 25, 2015

Frank Dicksee

oil on canvas
97.8 x 67.3 cm
Royal Academy of Arts Burlington House, London, United Kingdom

Francis Bernard Dicksee (1853-1928) was an English Victorian painter and illustrator, best known for his pictures of dramatic literary, historical, and legendary scenes. He specialized in romantic historical scenes, often from his own imagination rather than based on a particular event or literary source. He also was a noted painter of portraits of fashionable women, which helped to bring him success in his own time.

He was a member of a noted artistic family, his father, brother, and sister were all well-known painters, and the family lived in the Bloomsbury area of London. His father taught him from a young age. He enrolled in the Royal Academy in 1870 and achieved early success. He was at the height of his esteem at the turn of the century. By the end of his career, however, he was regarded as distinctly old-fashioned, and when he was elected president of the Royal Academy in 1924, this was seen as a concession to his seniority rather than as an indication of his standing in the art world. He was strongly opposed to modernism in art and his speeches as president fit the stereotype of the old attacking the new.  He was knighted in 1925, and named to the Royal Victorian Order by King George V in 1927.