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 :. | Priestess | A Priestess | Le Billet Doux (The Love Letter) | Classical Beauty | Venus at the Bath |
Related Artists:Christian Gullager
Christian Gullager (1759-1826) was an artist specializing in portraits and theatrical scenery in the late 18th century; he worked in Boston, Massachusetts, New York, and Philadelphia. Born in Copenhagen, he trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In America, portrait subjects included president George Washington. He designed scenery for Boston's Federal Street Theatre.Andrea del Sarto
Italian High Renaissance Painter , 1486-1530
Italian painter and draughtsman. He was the leading painter in Florence in the early years of the 16th century, and, under the influence of Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Bartolommeo, Michelangelo and Raphael, he elaborated and perfected the classical style of the High Renaissance. In the second decade of the 16th century his art anticipated aspects of Mannerism, while his direct, immediate works of the 1520s became important models for the more naturalistic Tuscan artists of the Counter-Reformation. He painted mainly religious works, including both altarpieces and major cycles of frescoes. His portraits, distinguished by a dreamily poetic quality, Henry George Hine,RI