John William Godward
Godward was a Victorian Neo-classicist, and therefore a follower in theory of Frederic Leighton. However, he is more closely allied stylistically to Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, with whom he shared a penchant for the rendering of Classical architecture, in particular, static landscape features constructed from marble.
The vast majority of Godward's extant images feature women in Classical dress, posed against these landscape features, though there are some semi-nude and fully nude figures included in his oeuvre (a notable example being In The Tepidarium (1913), a title shared with a controversial Alma-Tadema painting of the same subject that resides in the Lady Lever Art Gallery). The titles reflect Godward's source of inspiration: Classical civilisation, most notably that of Ancient Rome (again a subject binding Godward closely to Alma-Tadema artistically), though Ancient Greece sometimes features, thus providing artistic ties, albeit of a more limited extent, with Leighton.
Given that Classical scholarship was more widespread among the potential audience for his paintings during his lifetime than in the present day, meticulous research of detail was important in order to attain a standing as an artist in this genre. Alma-Tadema was, as well as a painter, an archaeologist who attended historical sites and collected artefacts that were later used in his paintings: Godward, too, studied such details as architecture and dress, in order to ensure that his works bore the stamp of authenticity. In addition, Godward painstakingly and meticulously rendered those other important features in his paintings, animal skins (the paintings Noon Day Rest (1910) and A Cool Retreat (1910) contain superb examples of such rendition) and wild flowers (Nerissa (1906), illustrated above, and Summer Flowers (1903) are again excellent examples of this).
The appearance of beautiful women in studied poses in so many of Godward's canvases causes many newcomers to his works to categorise him mistakenly as being Pre-Raphaelite, particularly as his palette is often a vibrantly colourful one. However, the choice of subject matter (ancient civilisation versus, for example, Arthurian legend) is more properly that of the Victorian Neoclassicist: however, it is appropriate to comment that in common with numerous painters contemporary with him, Godward was a 'High Victorian Dreamer', producing beautiful images of a world which, it must be said, was idealised and romanticised, and which in the case of both Godward and Alma-Tadema came to be criticised as a world-view of 'Victorians in togas'. Related Paintings of John William Godward :. | Sweet Dreams | A Classical Beauty | Under the Blossom that Hangs on the Bough | Erato at Her Lyre | Flabellifera |
Related Artists:Charles S.Raleigh
English-born American, 1830-1925William Holman Hunt
William Holman Hunt Galleries
Hunt's intended middle name was "Hobman", which he disliked intensely. He chose to call himself Holman when he discovered that his middle name had been misspelled this way after a clerical error at his baptism at the church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Ewell. Though his surname is "Hunt", his fame in later life led to the inclusion of his middle name as part of his surname, in the hyphenated form "Holman-Hunt", by which his children were known.
After eventually entering the Royal Academy art schools, having initially been rejected, Hunt rebelled against the influence of its founder Sir Joshua Reynolds. He formed the Pre-Raphaelite movement in 1848, after meeting the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Along with John Everett Millais they sought to revitalise art by emphasising the detailed observation of the natural world in a spirit of quasi-religious devotion to truth. This religious approach was influenced by the spiritual qualities of medieval art, in opposition to the alleged rationalism of the Renaissance embodied by Raphael. He had many pupils including Robert Braithwaite Martineau (best known for his work "Last Days in the Old Home") who was a moderately successful painter although he died young.
The Hireling Shepherd, 1851Hunt's works were not initially successful, and were widely attacked in the art press for their alleged clumsiness and ugliness. He achieved some early note for his intensely naturalistic scenes of modern rural and urban life, such as The Hireling Shepherd and The Awakening Conscience. However, it was with his religious paintings that he became famous, initially The Light of the World (now in the chapel at Keble College, Oxford, with a later copy in St Paul's Cathedral), having toured the world. After travelling to the Holy Land in search of accurate topographical and ethnographical material for further religious works, Hunt painted The Scapegoat, The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple and The Shadow of Death, along with many landscapes of the region. Hunt also painted many works based on poems, such as Isabella and The Lady of Shalott.
All these paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, their hard vivid colour and their elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, according to whom the world itself should be read as a system of visual signs. For Hunt it was the duty of the artist to reveal the correspondence between sign and fact. Out of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He eventually had to give up painting because failing eyesight meant that he could not get the level of quality that he wanted. His last major work, The Lady of Shalott, was completed with the help of an assistant (Edward Robert Hughes).
Hunt married twice. After a failed engagement to his model Annie Miller, he married Fanny Waugh, who later modelled for the figure of Isabella. When she died in childbirth in Italy he sculpted her tomb up at Fiesole, having it brought down to the English Cemetery, beside the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. His second wife, Edith, was Fanny's sister. At this time it was illegal in Britain to marry one's deceased wife's sister, so Hunt was forced to travel abroad to marry her. This led to a serious breach with other family members, notably his former Pre-Raphaelite colleague Thomas Woolner, who had married Fanny and Edith's third sister Alice.
Hunt's autobiography Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1905) was written to correct other literature about the origins of the Brotherhood, which in his view did not adequately recognise his own contribution. Many of his late writings are attempts to control the interpretation of his work.
In 1905, he was appointed to the Order of Merit by King Edward VII. At the end of his life he lived in Sonning-on-Thames.BACKER, Jacob de
Flemish painter (b. 1555/60, Antwerpen, d. 1585/90, Antwerpen)
Flemish painter and draughtsman. According to van Mander, as a young boy de Backer was abandoned by his father, also a painter, who had to flee Antwerp because of an impending court trial. Jacob then worked for several years in the studio of Antonio van Palermo (1503/13-before 1589) and later entered the workshop of Hendrick van Steenwijck. Van Mander further claimed that the strenuous labour that van Palermo had imposed on the young man had so wrecked his health that he died at the age of 30, in the arms of his former master's daughter. This, van Mander added, happened a long time ago, thus implying that de Backer died before van Steenwijck left Antwerp in 1586. This is confirmed by other evidence, including the age of van Palermo's daughter Lucretia, who was baptized in Antwerp on 25 July 1561. She lived until 1626 and at the time of her death still possessed six paintings by de Backer.