Arthur Hacker was born in 1858, so he witnessed quite a few exciting changes in the art world and beyond. He was a British artist, and many newspapers in the United Kingdom continue to publish tributes to his work. Arthur Hacker's father was a line engraver, so he was already exposed to the art world of the day through his family. However, Arthur Hacker's work has easily outlasted the more vocational work of his father.
Between 1876 and 1880, Arthur Hacker was a student at the Royal Academy. He also attended the Atelier Bonnat in the city of Paris. It wasn't long before Arthur Hacker's work was actually shown at the Royal Academy itself: his first art exhibition there was in 1878 at the age of twenty. In 1910, Arthur Hacker became an Academician, at which point he tried experimenting with very different subjects. Arthur Hacker created London street scene paintings that were slightly too ahead of their time, since the modernist art movement was still new enough that it was off-putting to see an artist like Arthur Hacker seemingly adopt a modernist subject. However, these paintings went on to become more popular as modernism succeeded, and today, Arthur Hacker's work in general is respected.
Arthur Hacker died in London in the November of 1919. Many of Arthur Hacker's most famous and celebrated paintings today were the ones that he created later in life, although his earlier work is also remembered. For some artists, their earlier work or later work will end up falling into obscurity as the years progress. Other artists are lucky enough to have their full body of work remembered by art enthusiasts.
A casual observer may think that some of Arthur Hacker's paintings are older than they are, given the subjects they depict. Many of his paintings are very religious in nature, which lends them an almost timeless quality. A number of his other paintings seem to incorporate elements of the Renaissance or Middle Ages. In the nineteenth century, there was a renewed interest in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, partly as a result of anxieties about changing times and the modern world. The Romantics were particularly fascinated with these time periods, and a lot of their artwork depicts that fascination.
Arthur Hacker's portfolio seems to be fairly diverse. He painted a lot of portraits, and people looking at his work today will get a catalog of some of the powerful people that he knew. Some of his paintings also incorporated fantasy elements. Many of them have a light and airy quality, and yet all of the human figures depicted in his paintings are carefully and realistically rendered. The emphasis in his paintings was on color rather than the contrast between light and shadow, which gives the paintings a gentle feel.
Many historical artists were fairly limited in terms of their location. They bonded with local people, and they were primarily acquainted with their local culture. Traveling was very expensive and dangerous all throughout the Renaissance, but it started becoming safer and less expensive during the nineteenth century. Arthur Hacker was able to travel widely through North Africa and Spain, which certainly changed his perspective and gave him a broader view in general.
His travels seem to have influenced his work in both subtle and direct ways, but the fact that he was able to be influenced in this manner reflects the cultural changes that were happening around him. Arthur Hacker took his inspiration from multiple sources it seems, and he was able to create something truly unique and memorable in the process.