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Definition: Leighton, Frederick Leighton Baron from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(lā'tən), 1830–96, English painter and sculptor. He studied in Florence. His first exhibited picture, which showed Cimabue's Madonna being carried through the streets of Florence, was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1855. Leighton was president of the Royal Academy from 1878 until his death. His popular pictures dealt with subjects taken from antiquity.

  • See biography by E. Rhys (3d ed. 1900);.
  • Shackford, M. H., The Brownings and Leighton (1942);.
  • Gaunt, W., Victorian Olympus (1952).

Summary Article: Leighton, Frederic Stretton from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English painter and sculptor. One of the most highly respected artists of his day, he specialized in recreations of classical Greek subjects, such as his Captive Andromache (1888; Manchester City Art Gallery) and The Garden of the Hesperides (1892; Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool). The style of his works is neoclassical, the mood dreamily Romantic. He became president of the Royal Academy in 1878. His house in Holland Park, London, is now a museum.

Comprehensively trained in Florence, Frankfurt, Brussels, and Paris (under the Nazarene Eduard von Steinle), he became the main representative of classicism in its late-Victorian form, painting subject pictures inspired by ancient Greece and the Parthenon frieze. Many landscapes also resulted from his extensive travels, and his visits to the Middle East suggested the décor of the Arab Hall at his London house. His decorative art in fresco and mosaic may be studied in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and his bronzes The Sluggard and Athlete Struggling with a Python (1877) at the Tate Gallery, London. His varied talents, learning, and personal charm contributed to make him a great success as president of the Royal Academy.

His first picture to attract attention in England was Cimabue's Madonna Carried in Procession Through the Streets of Florence, which was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1855 and bought by Queen Victoria. From the 1860s he concentrated on classical subjects such as The Last Watch of Hero (Manchester City Art Gallery) and Flaming June (1888). He also produced illustrations, such as those for Dalziel's Bible and George Eliot's novel Romola.

Knighted in 1878 and made a baron in 1896, he is the only English painter to have been made a lord.

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