Frederick Leighton Biography | Oil Paintings
12-3-1830 Scarborough, ENG - 1-25-1896 London, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Sir Frederick Leighton painter and sculptor, viewed himself as of a very different school to that of the Pre-Raphaelites, yet was friends with many of them, and we can see close connections between his Aesthetic Classicism style and the Pre-Raphaelite style.
He was a pupil of Edward von Steinle, a follower of the Nazarenes, who were also inspirational to the Pre-Raphaelites and then received more art training from Giovanni Costa. At age 17, in 1847, he met the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in Frankfurt and painted his portrait.
When he was 24 Frederick Leighton studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and painted the first oil painting by which Frederick Leighton became known to the British public, Cimabue's Madonna Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1855. This oil painting created such a sensation and it was bought by Queen Victoria.
Between 1855 to 1859 he lived in Paris, where he met Ingres, Delacroix, Corot, and Millet. In 1860, he moved to back to London, where he associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. Frederick Leighton was also an enthusiastic volunteer soldier, enlisting with the first group to join the 38th Middlesex Rifle volunteers, later to be known as The Artists Rifle.
Frederick Leighton studied art almost entirely on the Continent, in Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy. Leighton's life was throughout marked by distinction, both artistic and social and he spoke German, Italian and French. It was when he was in the full stride, enjoying a level of success that was matched only by Millais, that he was struck with angina pectoris. For a long time, he battled with this cruel disease, never neglecting to do any of his official obligations except during a brief period of rest abroad, which failed to produce the desired effect.
Frederick Leighton's Flaming June, the Masterpiece No One Wanted.
A year before his death, Frederick Leighton painted one of his most well-known works of art, Flaming June. Flaming June went to the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1895, but Leighton was too sick to go to.
Leighton’s careful, classical art, eclipsed by the more liberated brushwork of Impressionism, suffered a slow demise. Flaming June was at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford until 1930, before entering a private collection and disappearing from view. In 1962, it was discovered behind a false wall over a mantelpiece while renovating a house outside London, the worker took the painting and sold it to an antique store for £50 pounds. In a surprising unforeseen turn of events, a young fourteen-year-old Andrew Lloyd Webber saw it for sale in the London antique shop that year for £50 (equal to US$1100 today) but his grandmother refused to lend him the cash, saying “I will not have that Victorian junk in my flat”. The painting would not sell, so the antique shop owner gave up and sold the beautiful picture frame to limit his loss.
One day, the art dealer Jeremy Maas who liked Victorian art, saw it and bought it to put in his art gallery, still, no one would buy it. But a year later in 1963, Luis Ferré, who would become the future governor of Puerto Rico, purchased the work of art for £2,000 (equal to US$50,000 today), making it the highlight of the new museum Museo de Arte de Ponce, which needed art, having opened in 1959. Of all the paintings Frederick Leighton painted, he is best remembered for this one, now one of the most famous and recognized paintings in the world.
Art Movement: Victorian Classicism, Academicism.
Artists Influencing Frederick Leighton: Edward von Steinle, Giovanni Costa, Correggio.
He Traveled To Germany, France, Belgium, Italy.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.