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 :. | Erato at Her Lyre | Noonday Rest | Under the Blossom that Hangs on the Bough | Erato at Her Lyre | Nerissa |
Related Artists:COYPEL, Antoine
French Baroque Era Painter, 1661-1722
director of the French Royal Academy and principal painter of Louis XV. He illustrated many literary works, including editions of Moliere's plays, and was himself a prolific dramatist. Coypel wrote one fairy tale, Agla ou Nabotine (Agla or Little One?), published posthumously in 1779. Coypel weaves several traditional fairy tale motifs into the story of a benevolent fairy who tests the kindness and sincerity of an ugly little girl whose virtue is eventually rewarded with beauty and the love of a handsome young man.
Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi
Russian Painter, 1842-1910
Ukrainian painter, active in Russia. Initially self-taught as an artist, he twice failed the St Petersburg Academy's entrance examination, despite coaching by the marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky. In 1868, however, he was accepted as an external student. He persevered against conservative prejudice and poverty throughout his early career, supplementing his income by retouching photographs. In his early landscape paintings he often sought to capture seasonal moods, as in Autumn Mud (1872; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). A more human focus, however, is noticeable after 1874, when he joined the travelling exhibitions society the WANDERERS: the village houses dominate the landscape setting in Evening in Ukraine (1878; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). Kuindzhi's principal interest, however, was in lighting, and he obtained striking effects by using vivid colours, chiaroscuro contrasts and simple but cleverly conceived designs. Spectacular paintings, such as the Birch Grove (1879; Moscow, Tret'yakov Gal.), greatly moved contemporary viewers. Through years of experimentation, Kuindzhi developed a highly original technique, which he applied to an increasingly typical, at times almost visionary, treatment of subjects such as snow-covered mountains and moonlight (e.g. Elbnis: Moonlit Night, 1890-95; Moscow, Tret'yakov Gal.). Due to imperfections in the paints he used, many of his canvases soon darkened.The Hon.Eleanor Vere Boyle