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 :. | Study of Campaspe | A Souvenir | Erato at Her Lyre | The Ring | Campaspe |
Related Artists:George Romney
George Romney Galleries
By 1757 he was becoming well-known as a portraitist. He fell ill during his apprenticeship and was nursed back to health by Mary Abbott, daughter of his landlady.
In 1762, by which time he was married with two children, he went to London, and saw early success with a painting, The Death of General Wolfe which won a prize from the Royal Society of Arts. Romney soon had a thriving portrait business in Long Acre.
Despite his great success George Romney was never invited to join the Royal Academy nor did he ever apply to join. While there has been much speculation about his relationship with the Academy there is no doubt that he normally remained aloof maintaining that a good artist should succeed without being a member. His own career certainly supported this belief and it was only towards the end of his life that he expressed the slightest regret for his views
Portrait of Miss Juliana Willoughby, 1781-83 (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)
Emma Hamilton as a bacchante by George Romney, 1785In 1773 he travelled to Italy with fellow artist Ozias Humphrey to study art in Rome and Parma, returning to London in 1775 to resume business, this time in Cavendish Square (in a house formerly owned by noted portraitist Francis Cotes). In 1782 he met Emma Hamilton (then called Emma Hart) who became his muse. He painted over 60 portraits of her in various poses, sometimes playing the part of historical or mythological figures. He also painted many other contemporaries, including fellow artist Mary Moser. After an absence of almost forty years, he returned to his family in Kendal in the summer of 1799. He was greeted by his loyal, devoted and unquestioning wife. George Romney is a kinsman of Mitt Romney, U.S politician.Charles Fries
b Florence, 17 March 1609; bur 22 April 1675