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 :. | A Grecian Lovely | Tranquillity | The New Perfume | With Violets Wreathed and Robe of Saffron Hue | Youth and Time |
Related Artists:Meszoly, Geza
Hungarian Painter, 1844-1887Vasa,Gustav Eriksson
a painter of historical subjects and portraits, was born at Rouen in 1797. He became a pupil at the École des Beaux-Arts under Gros, and after carrying off the principal honours there pursued his studies still further at Rome. High expectations were formed of him when he exhibited in 1827 'The Death of Caesar,' a work manifesting earnest thought, and a conscientious handling of the facts of history. This is now preserved in the Louvre. Having shown himself in this and other works a vigorous painter, capable of seizing a subject with a masterly grasp, and having also in the region of portrait painting proved himself an artist of no common merit, he eventually dissipated his talents in the production of a series of empty official pictures painted by order of Louis Philippe. He died in Paris in 1865. The Bordeaux Museum has a portrait of Henri Fonfrede by him; that of Lyons, a 'Scene in the Deluge'; that of Rouen,