Alma Tadema

Alma Tadema — Classical Charm, Fries Museum

Alma-Tadema, Classical Charm in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden: an extensive exhibition about the work, life and influence of the painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) who grew up in Friesland, studied painting at the Academy of Arts in Antwerp and went to London to become one of the most renowned artists of his time. The exhibition presents how his painted scenes of ancient Rome have had an in several cases surprisingly direct influence on the set-design of seminal Hollywood films from Ben-Hur to Gladiator and how they consequently have thoroughly defined our present image of classical antiquity.

The exhibition design focuses on the special notion of space that characterises the composition of the paintings of Alma-Tadema, deliberately relating the enclosed and intimate space of the scene to the open and apparently infinite space of the outside world. By im- and explicitly pairing inside and outside, open and closed, near and far, the spaciousness of each image unmistakably generates the specific and ambiguous spatial feeling of classic Modernity.

A custom font ‘U8-Alma’ is designed with applied typographic elements from Tadema’s paintings.

With its innovative approach the Fries Museum won the prestigious biennial Turing Award for the best exhibition plan. The exhibiton was awarded the You-2 Award at the 2017 Global Fine Art Awards (GFAA).

Visual identity (2D)  |  Print communications  |  Coloring plan  |  Signage
Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, 2016-2017

Typefaces: U8- Alma (modified) and Aleksei
Exhibition design by Paul Toornend
Photos © Fries Museum, Ruben van Vliet