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 :. | Ionian Dancing Girl | Endymion | The Tambourine Girl | La Pensierosa | Venus Binding her Hair |
Related Artists:Alfred Jacob Miller
American Painter, 1810-1874
1810?C74, American artist, b. Baltimore, studied under Thomas Sully and in Europe. In 1837 he joined an expedition to the American West and was probably the first artist to depict the Rocky Mts. On that trip he produced his most important works, chiefly studies of Native American and frontier life, valuable for their documentary detail. These sketches and watercolors were entirely forgotten for nearly a century until they were rediscovered in a storeroom of the Peale Museum, Baltimore. William Henry Pyne
English Painter, 1769-1843
English painter, illustrator and writer. He trained at the drawing academy of Henry Pars (c. 1733-1806) in London and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790. His drawings were almost always pen, ink and colour wash (e.g. Gossip at the Cottage Door, 1794; London, BM). His most characteristic works are the illustrations for the books Microcosm (1803-8) and The Costume of Great Britain (1808) in which he successfully placed groups of well-observed characters in picturesque settings. Pyne had been a founder of the Old Water-Colour Society in 1804 but resigned in 1809 when it refused to increase its membership to greater than 24 artists. David Henry Friston
(1820 - 1906) was a British illustrator and figure painter in the Victorian Era. He is best remembered as the creator of the first illustrations of Sherlock Holmes in 1887, as well as his illustrations of the controversial female vampire story Carmilla (1872). He is also remembered for his illustrations accompanying reviews of Gilbert and Sullivan operas and plays of W. S. Gilbert in The Illustrated London News and the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News in the 1870s and 1880s.