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Sir Martin Archer Shee PRA, Belisarius

Belisarius, 1809

Sir Martin Archer Shee PRA (1769 - 1850)

RA Collection: Art

Shee was born in Dublin and studied at the Royal Dublin Society before moving to London in 1788. There he became friends with Sir Thomas Lawrence and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1790. It was his work as a portrait painter which found him most success as well as his involvement with the running of the Royal Academy. He was elected President after Lawrence’s death in 1830.

Portraits were not acceptable as Diploma Works, so Shee presented this history painting. It represents a famous general, Belisarius, who served under the the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Despite achieving many military successes he was falsely accused of conspiracy and was reduced to begging on the streets of Constantinople.

Object details

Object type
Oil on canvas

1275 mm x 1020 mm x 24 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Diploma Work given by Sir Martin Archer Shee PRA accepted 1809

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