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 :. | The Ring by John William Godward | The Old, Old Story | Does He Love me | Sweet Dreams | At the Thermae |
Related Artists:Berlinghiero Berlinghieri
English-born American Rococo Era Painter, ca.1700-1780Ljubov Popova
Russian Constructivist Painter and Designer, 1889-1924
Through a synthesis of styles Popova worked towards what she termed painterly architectonics. Exploring firstly Impressionism, by 1913, in Composition with Figures, she was experimenting with the particularly Russian development of Cubo-Futurism: a fusion of two equal influences from France and Italy.
Portrait of a Philosopher (Artists's brother, Pavel Sergeyevich Popov), 1915From 1914-1915 her Moscow home became the meeting-place for artists and writers. In 1914-1916 Popova together with other avant-garde artists (Aleksandra Ekster, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Olga Rozanova) contributed to the two Jack of Diamonds exhibitions, then in Petrograd Tramway V and the 0.10, The Store in Moscow.
In 1916 she joined the Supremus group with Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, Aleksandra Ekster, Ivan Kliun, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Olga Rozanova, Ivan Puni, Nina Genke, Ksenia Boguslavskaya and others who at this time worked in Verbovka Village Folk Centre. However there was a tension between those who like Malevich saw art as a spiritual quest and others who responded to the need for the artist to create a new physical world. Popova embraced both of these ideals but eventually identified herself entirely with the early aims of the Revolution working in poster, book design, fabric and theatre design, as well as teaching.
Her painting The Violin of 1914 reveals the development from cubism towards the "painterly architectonics" of 1917- 1918. Before joining the Supremus group her paintings, the architectonic series defined her artistic trajectory, quite distinct from that of Malevich, Rozanova, Tatlin and Mondrian, in abstract form. The canvas surface is an energy field of overlapping and intersecting angular planes in a constant state of potential release. At the same time the elements are held in a balanced and proportioned whole as if linking the compositions of the classical past to the future. By 1918 colour is used as the iconic focus; the strong primary colour at the centre drawing the outer shapes together.
In 1918 Popova married von Eding, and gave birth to a son, but von Eding died the following year of typhoid fever. She worked on Agitprop designs, and in 1919 she contributed to Tenth State Exhibition: Non Objective Creativity and Suprematism. She painted more advanced abstract works in 1919-21. In 1921 she exhibited in the 5 x 5 Exhibition.
From 1921-24 Popova became active in Constructivist projects, sometimes in collaboration with the architect Alexander Vesnin. She was active in stage designs: Vsevolod Meyerhold's production of Fernand Crommeldynck's The Magnanamous Cuckold, 1922; and in teaching: Spatial Force Constructions were used as the basis of an art teaching theory. She designed typography of books, production art and textiles, and contributed designs for dresses to LEF.
Popova died in Moscow. A large exhibition of her work opened in Moscow on 21 December 1924.