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 :. | The Muse Erato at Her Lyre | Endymion | Ionian Dancing Girl | Tranquillity | The Melody, circa |
Related Artists:Master of the Manna
French Early Renaissance,
15th CenturyRobert Walter Weir
Jun 18.1803-May 1.1889, Painter and teacher. By his own account he was self-taught, with the exception of a few lessons from an unknown heraldic painter named Robert Cooke. However, after exhibiting a few works that were praised by the local press, he was sent to Italy by a group of New York and Philadelphia businessmen for further studies. There he trained with Florentine history painter Pietro Benvenuti. After three years in Europe (1824-7), he returned to New York, where he quickly became a mainstay of the artistic community. In 1831 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Design in New York, and three years later he was made instructor of drawing at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, a post he held for the next 42 years. Sir William Beechey
English painter. He was trained as a lawyer before entering the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1772. He is thought to have studied under Johan Zoffany, and his earliest surviving portraits are small-scale full-lengths and conversation pieces in Zoffanys manner (e.g. The Custance Conversation Piece, c. 1786; priv. col.). Beechey first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1776. In 1782 he moved to Norwich, where he gained several commissions, but he was back in London by 1787. In 1789 he exhibited a portrait of John Douglas, Bishop of Carlisle (London, Lambeth Pal.) that is remarkable for its facility of handling. Beechey would occasionally paint similarly inspired works, but his career is marked by a succession of unflamboyant but competent portraits in the tradition of Joshua Reynolds.