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 :. | Tranquillity | Athenais | The Old Old Story | A Souvenir | Dolce far Niente |
Related Artists:Francois Bonvin
Francois Bonvin Location
Bonvin was born in humble circumstances in Paris, the son of a police officer and a seamstress. When he was four years old his mother died of tuberculosis and young Francois was left in the care of an old woman who underfed him. Soon his father married another seamstress and brought the child back into the household. Nine additional children were born, putting a strain on the familys resources, and to make matters worse his stepmother took to abusing and undernourishing Francois.
The young Bonvin started drawing at an early age. His potential was recognized by a friend of the family, who paid for him to attend a school for drawing instruction at age eleven. This instruction ended after two years, when his father apprenticed him to a printer, and Bonvin was to remain mostly self-taught as an artist. He spent his free time at the Louvre where he especially appreciated the Dutch old masters. Bonvin married a laundress at the age of twenty, at about the same time that he secured a job at the headquarters of the Paris police. It was during this period in his life that he also contracted an illness which would trouble him for the rest of his life.
Bonvin exhibited three paintings in the Salon of 1849, where he was awarded a third-class medal. He exhibited in the Salon of 1850 with Courbet, and won recognition as a leading realist, painting truthfully the lives of the poor which he knew at first hand. His paintings were well received by critics and by the public. Although his work had elements in common with Courbets, his modestly scaled paintings were not seen as revolutionary. He was awarded the Legion d honneur in 1870.
His subjects were still life and the everyday activities of common people, painted in a style that is reminiscent of Pieter de Hooch and Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin. It is the latter who is especially recalled by Bonvins delicate luminosity.
In 1881 he underwent an operation which did not restore him to health, and he became blind. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held in 1886. He died at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1887. Maria Fortuny i Marsal
painted Marocco, mercato e case in 1869Louis Eilshemius
Louis Eilshemius Gallery
Born near Newark, New Jersey into a wealthy family, his earliest education was in Europe, after which he spent two years at Cornell University before his art studies began at the Art Students League of New York. He subsequently studied under Bouguereau at the Acad??mie Julian in Paris, and traveled widely in Europe, Africa and the South Seas, returning to the family brownstone in New York City where he was to live for the rest of his life.
His early landscapes, which show the influence of the Barbizon school and of Corot, George Inness and Albert Pinkham Ryder, gained him little recognition from critics or from the public. Around 1910, the element of fantasy in his work became more pronounced and his technique became coarser; henceforth, he often painted on cardboard instead of canvas. As his works became more idiosyncratic, so did his behavior, and he developed an unsettling habit of visiting galleries and loudly condemning the works on display.
His later, visionary works depicting moonlit landscapes populated with voluptuous nymphs caused his contemporaries particular consternation, due to their crudely rendered and often extravagantly smiling nudes. These are shown frolicking in forests or waterfalls, either alone or in groups, sometimes defying gravity by floating through the air. His paintings of New York rooftops are as lyrical as his pastoral scenes, and like them are often bounded by sinuous "frames" he painted onto his pictures.
Eilshemius also wrote verse and prose, composed music, painted, philosophized and became notorious for his numerous, often vitriolic, letters-to-the-editor of various New York City publications. His lack of public acclaim led him to desperate measures: suspecting that the length of his name was responsible for his neglect, in about 1890 he began signing his paintings "Elshemus" (he reverted back to the original spelling in 1913). On letterheads and in hyperbolic, self-published flyers he would proclaim his accomplishments: "Educator, Ex-actor, Amateur All-around Doctor, Mesmerist-Prophet and Mystic, Reader of Hands and Faces, Linguist of 5 languages", as well as world-class athlete and marksman, "Spirit-Painter Supreme", and musician whose improvisations rivalled the compositions of Chopin. All of this only reinforced the impression, already suggested by the peculiar imagery in many of his paintings, that he was either mad or a charlatan.
He was not without supporters, however. He was championed by Marcel Duchamp, who "discovered" Eilshemius in 1917 and invited him to exhibit with him in Paris that year. His work was generally well received by French viewers and critics; his admirers included Matisse. Duchamp subsequently helped to arrange Eilshemius's first solo exhibition in 1920, at the Soci??t?? Anonyme in New York City. The hostile critical reception to this exhibition, however, finally drove him to give up painting entirely in 1921, although there is a single known painting dated 1937. The remainder of his life was dedicated to self-promotion, and in 1931 he took to referring to himself as "Mahatma".
Injured in an automobile accident in 1932, he became increasingly reclusive. His health in decline and his family fortune spent, he died in 1941.
Since his death, Eilshemius's work has found a wider audience. One of the artist's few consistent patrons, Roy Neuberger, donated a large body of Eilshemius' work to the Neuberger Museum of Art located at SUNY Purchase College in New York State.