This is one of his most famous paintings. It depicts the Roman Emperor Egabalus (Heliogabalus), a debauched psychotic. In this episode, he is attempting to smother his unsuspecting audience with rose petals, which have been let loose from false ceiling panels. Alma-Tadema wanted each petal to be as perfectly realistic as possible, and had shipments of rose petals sent to him from the Riviera over the winter of 1887-1888, so he would have fresh examples.
academic artoil on canvasromanticism