This meticulous depiction of two glamorous women lounging in an ancient Roman villa exemplifies the work of Lawrence Alma-Tadema, who became interested in daily life in ancient Greece and Rome after visiting Pompeii in 1893. Traditionally the young women have been interpreted as rivals in love awaiting the attentions of the same man. Themes of dalliance and love are suggested in the subjects of the marble sculptures adorning the parapet, such as the relief of Cupid trying on a mask of Silenus. The artist based these sculptures on artefacts found in Roman museums, photographs of which were in his reference collection.


  • Title: Unconscious Rivals
  • Creator: ALMA-TADEMA, Sir Lawrence
  • Date Created: 1893
  • Physical Dimensions: h 451, w 629 mm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: ©Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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