12-03-1830

Baron Frederick Leighton

BARON FREDERICK LEIGHTON, English sculptor and painter, born (d: 1896); Leighton’s painting, long in disfavor, but coming back in style as more and more people learn to appreciate the Victorian Renaissance Revival, was enormously popular in his lifetime. Since Leighton’s sympathies were with the Italian Renaissance tradition, his paintings – with their often mythological subject, monumental compositions, and figures clad in classical drapery – are among the last examples of the grand traditional manner in European art.

Leighton’s paintings appealed to a large and influential segment of the Victorian public, which craved an art of “high seriousness.” Because he played by the established rules of the game, Leighton, whose sexuality was widely known, pursued his career and his pleasure with discretion. He died at 65, the day after being made a baron, the first English painter to be so honored.