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 :. | Belvedere | With Violets Wreathed and Robe of Saffron Hue | Autumn | Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder | A Priestess |
Related Artists:Pierre etienne theodore rousseau
Paris 1812-Barbizon 1867
French painter of the Barbizon school, was born in Paris, of a bourgeois family which included one or two artists.At first he received a business training, but soon displayed aptitude for painting. Although his father regretted the decision at first, he became reconciled to his son leaving business, and throughout the artist's career (for he survived his son) was a sympathizer with him in all his conflicts with the Paris Salon authorities. Theodore Rousseau shared the difficulties of the romantic painters of 1830 in securing for their pictures a place in the annual Paris exhibition. The whole influence of the classically trained artists was against them, and not until 1848 was Rousseau adequately presented to the public. He had exhibited one or two unimportant works in the Salon of 1831 and 1834, but in 1836 his great work "La descente des vaches" was rejected by the vote of the classic painters; and from then until after the revolution of 1848 he was persistently refused. He was not without champions in the press, and under the title of "le grand refus" he became known through the writings of Thor, the critic who afterwards resided in England and wrote under the name of Burger. During these years of artistic exile Rousseau produced some of his finest pictures: "The Chestnut Avenue", "The Marsh in the Landes" (now in the Louvre), "Hoar-Frost" (now in America); and in 1851, after the reorganization of the Salon in 1848, he exhibited his masterpiece, "The Edge of the Forest" (also in the Louvre), a picture similar in treatment to, but slightly varied in subject from, the composition called "A Glade in the Forest of Fontainebleau", in the Wallace Collection at Hertford House, London. Up to this period Rousseau had lived only occasionally at Barbizon, but in 1848 he took up his residence in the forest village, and spent most of his remaining days in the vicinity. He was now at the height of his artistic power, and was able to obtain fair sums for his pictures (but only about one-tenth of their value thirty years after his death), and his circle of admirers increased. He was still ignored by the authorities, for while Narcisse Virgilio Diaz was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1851, Rousseau was left undecorated at this time, but was nominated shortly afterwards. At the Exposition Universelle of 1853, where all Rousseau's rejected pictures of the previous twenty years were gathered together, his works were acknowledged to form one of the finest of the many splendid groups there exhibited. But during his lifetime Rousseau never really conquered French taste, and after an unsuccessful sale of his works by auction in 1861, Bartholomeus van der Helst
Bartholomeus Van Der Helst Galleries
Dutch painter. He was the son of a Haarlem inn-keeper and presumably undertook part or all of his training in Amsterdam. His earliest works suggest that the painter Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy was his master. Although van der Helst had probably already established himself as an independent master by the time he married Anna du Pire in Amsterdam in 1636, his earliest known work, a portrait of The Regents of the Walloon Orphanage, Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Maison Descartes), dates from 1637. Stylistically it is close to the work of Pickenoy. His portrait of a Protestant Minister of 1638 (Rotterdam, Boymans-van Beuningen) reveals the influence of Rembrandt. The young artist must have risen rapidly to fame in Amsterdam, for as early as 1639 he received the prestigious commission for a large painting for the Kloveniersdoelen (Arquebusiers or Musketeers Hall): The Civic Guard Company of Capt. Roelof Bicker and Lt Jan Michielsz. Blaeuw (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), which formed part of the same series as Rembrandt Night Watch (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). Van der Helst may not have completed this commission until 1642 or 1643. The ingenious arrangement of the figures in a broad composition shows the artist special talent for composing large groups. Pickenoy influence is less noticeable here than in the portrait of 1637; the self-assured poses of the individual figures were to become a characteristic feature of van der Helst work. The successful execution of this portrait established van der Helst reputation: from 1642, when he began to receive an increasing number of commissions for individual portraits, until 1670 he was the leading portrait painter of the ruling class in Amsterdam. From 1642 his technique in portrait painting gradually became more fluent and the rendering of costume materials more detailed. Some typical portraits of his earlier period are those of Andries Bicker (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), his wife Catharina Gansneb Tengnagel (Dresden, Gemeldegal. Alte Meister) and their son Gerard Bicker (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), all of 1642, and the Portrait of a Young Girl (1645; London, N.G.). In 1648 van der Helst painted a second civic guard portrait, The Celebration of the Peace of M?nster at the Crossbowmen Headquarters, Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), a superbly composed and well painted portrait that, until the late 19th century, was considered one of the masterpieces of the Golden Age but later lost popularity because of its smooth and modish execution. It can nevertheless still be regarded as one of the most important group portraits of the 17th century. Its technical perfection, characterized by a well-modelled rendering of the figures and a smooth handling of the brush, dominated the rest of van der Helst oeuvre.Camile Pissarro