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 Classical Beauty | Le Billet Doux | Mischief | Nerissa | A Grecian Lovely |
Related Artists:Nathaniel Dance
English Painter, 1735-1811,Painter and politician, elder son of George Dance . He trained under Francis Hayman before travelling to Rome in 1754. As Nathaniel Dance he established himself as a portrait painter but was determined to succeed as a history painter. His picture the Death of Virginia (1759; untraced, but known from a sketch, London, Soane Mus.) is of documentary importance as the first dated Classical history painting by a British artist working in Rome. In 1762 Dance assisted Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, whose influence brightened his palette and introduced him to a grander clientele, including Edward Augustus, Duke of York (1739-67), who sat for both artists in 1764 (Dance's Edward Augustus, Duke of York, London, Buckingham Pal., Royal Col.). In the same year Dance painted a portrait of Angelica Kauffman (Burghley House, Cambs), with whom he was in love. He returned to London in 1765 and rapidly achieved fame as a portrait and history painter. His Timon of Athens (1767; London, Buckingham Pal., Royal Col.) was purchased by George III; but after the King appointed Benjamin West to be his history painter in 1772, Dance concentrated on portraits. He was among the 22 artists who successfully petitioned the King in 1768 to establish a Royal Academy, and he served for periods as a council member and visitor, until 1782. At the Academy's first exhibition (1769) Dance showed full-length portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte (Uppark, W. Sussex, NT); two years later he exhibited David Garrick as Richard III (Stratford-on-Avon, Town Hall). In the mid-1770s Dance became financially independent, and his output declined sharply, virtually ceasing after his marriage in 1783 to a wealthy widow. He resigned from the Academy in 1790 on his election as Member of Parliament for East Grinstead and subsequently only exhibited occasional landscapes as a 'gentleman'. In 1800 he was created a baronet and assumed the name of Dance-Holland; he died worth over Campin, Robert, Follower of
Italian, 1400sClark, Kate Freeman