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 Fair Reflection | Athenais | Idle Thoughts | With Violets Wreathed and Robe of Saffron Hue | New Perfume |
Related Artists:RENI, Guido
Italian Baroque Era Painter, 1575-1642
Italian painter, draughtsman and etcher. He was one of the greatest and most influential of the 17th-century Italian painters, whose sophisticated and complex art dominated the Bolognese school. A classicizing artist, deeply influenced by Greco-Roman art and by Raphael but also by the mannered elegance of Parmigianino's paintings, he sought an ideal beauty; his work was especially celebrated for its compositional and figural grace. In his religious art he was concerned with the expression of intense emotion, often charged with pathos; according to his biographer Malvasia, he boasted that he 'could paint heads with their eyes uplifted a hundred different ways' to give form to a state of ecstasy or divine inspiration.BIJLERT, Jan van
Dutch painter, Utrecht school (b. 1597/98, Utrecht, d. 1671, Utrecht)
Dutch painter. He was the son of the Utrecht glass painter Herman Beerntsz. van Bijlert (c. 1566-before 1615). Jan must have trained first with his father but was later apprenticed to the painter Abraham Bloemaert. After his initial training, he visited France and travelled to Italy, as did other artists from Utrecht. Jan stayed mainly in Rome, where he became a member of the Schildersbent; he returned to Utrecht in 1624. In Rome he and the other Utrecht artists had come under the influence of the work of Caravaggio; after their return home, this group of painters, who became known as the UTRECHT CARAVAGGISTI, adapted the style of Caravaggio to their own local idiom. The Caravaggesque style, evident in van Bijlert's early paintings.John Closterman
John Closterman (1660-1711) (also spelled Cloosterman, Klosterman), portrait-painter, born in Osnabruck, the son of an artist, who taught him the rudiments of design.
In 1679 he went to Paris, accompanied by his countryman Tiburen, and there worked under Francois de Troy. In 1681 he came to England, and painted draperies for John Riley, at whose death, in 1691, Closterman finished several of his portraits. This recommended him to the Duke of Somerset, but he lost his favour on account of a dispute about a picture of Guercino, specially acquired for his grace, and which was afterwards purchased by Lord Halifax. In 1696 he was invited to the court of Spain, and executed the portraits of the king and queen; he also went to Italy twice, and made several acquisitions of works of art. On returning to England he obtained considerable employment, and married an Englishwoman. He buried his wife, Hannah, on 27 January 1702. According to Arnold Houbraken, he later took a mistress, who then ruined him by her extravagant habits, and ultimately left him in a state of dejection of body and mind that led to his ultimate decline. Jacob Campo Weyerman, who took much of his biographical material from Houbraken, states "Closterman had taken a beautiful mistress who, while he was away in the country, robbed him of his valuables and disappeared, actions which drove the painter into madness".
He died in 1711, and was buried in Covent Garden churchyard.