Omar Kayyam. Rubaiyat. Elihu Vedder, il. 1884.
The late nineteenth century was a golden age of academic mural painting, and Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) was one its most effective practitioners. Growing national wealth, ostentation, and cultural consciousness brought a wide public building program that spread Beaux-Arts classicism throughout the land, and murals were frequently commissioned for the buildings. They typically expressed blameless civic ideals expressed in pseudo-classic symbology. Some of these painters were not exclusively muralists; Vedder's work had a severity, a linear clarity, and a decorative sense that made his murals among the most effective.[EWA] The same qualities are evident in his illustrations for this fine Rubaiyat.
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