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 :. | Athenais | The Ring | An Offering to Venus | Endymion | The Old, Old Story |
Related Artists:Anna Lea Merritt
American Pre-Raphaelite Painter, 1844-1930
English painter, muralist and printmaker of American birth. She is best known for her Victorian portraits, allegorical and religious paintings, landscapes and floral scenes and was successful in spite of the difficulties that she encountered as a professional woman artist working in Victorian England. After brief artistic tours to Florence, Dresden and Paris, where she studied in L?on Cogniet's atelier, she began intensive instruction in 1870 from Henry Merritt (1822-77), an Englishman who restored works of art from important collections and wrote on art, exhibitions and conservation. Anna Lea and Henry Merritt were married in July 1877; three months later he died. Love Locked out (1889; London, Tate), depicting love at the door of a tomb, was painted as a memorial to her husband. Jonathan Eastman Johnson
Jonathan Eastman Johnson Galleries
Eastman Johnson (July 29, 1824 - April 5, 1906) was an American painter, and Co-Founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, with his name inscribed at its entrance. Best known for his genre paintings, paintings of scenes from everyday life, and his portraits both of everyday people, he also painted portraits of prominent Americans such as Abraham Lincoln, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His later works often show the influence of the 17th century Dutch masters whom he studied while living in The Hague, and he was even known as The American Rembrandt in his day.
Johnson's style is largely realistic in both subject matter and in execution. His original photorealistic charcoal sketches were not strongly influenced by period artists, but are informed more by his lithography training. Later works show influence by the 17th century Dutch and Flemish masters, and also by Jean François Millet. Echoes of Millet's The Gleaners can be seen in Johnson's The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket although the emotional tone of the work is far different.
His careful portrayal of individuals rather than stereotypes enhances the realism of his paintings. Ojibwe artist Carl Gawboy notes that the faces in the 1857 portraits of Ojibwe people by Johnson are recognizable in people in the Ojibwe community today. Some of his paintings such as Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage display near photorealism long before the photorealism movement but in keeping with the American tradition of realism that can be seen in the works of Charles Willson Peale whose painting The Stairway Group is said to have fooled George Washington.
His careful attention to light sources contributes to the realism. Portraits Girl and Pets and The Boy Lincoln make use of single light sources in a manner that echoes the 17th Century Dutch Masters.Francis Danby
Irish Painter, 1793-1861
was a British painter of the Romantic eraBorn in the south of Ireland, he was one of a set of twins; his father, James Danby, farmed a small property he owned near Wexford, but his death, in 1807, caused the family to move to Dublin, while Francis was still a schoolboy. He began to practice drawing at the Royal Dublin Society's schools; and under an erratic young artist named James Arthur O'Connor he began painting landscapes. Danby also made acquaintance with George Petrie, and all three left for London together in 1824. This expedition, undertaken with very inadequate funds, quickly came to an end, and they had to get home again by walking. At Bristol they made a pause, and Danby, finding he could get trifling sums for water-color drawings, remained there working diligently and sending to the London exhibitions pictures of importance. There his large oil paintings quickly attracted attention. Danby painted "vast illusionist canvases" comparable to those of John Martin of "grand, gloomy and fantastic subjects which chimed exactly with the Byronic taste of the 1820s."The Upas Tree (1820) and The Delivery of the Israelites (1825) brought him his election as an Associate Member of the Royal Academy. He left Bristol for London, and in 1828 exhibited his Opening of the Sixth Seal at the British Institution, receiving from that body a prize of 200 guineas; and this picture was followed by two others on the theme of the Apocalypse. In 1829 Danby's wife deserted him, running off with the painter Paul Falconer Poole Danby left London, declaring that he would never live there again, and that the Academy, instead of aiding him, had, somehow or other, used him badly. For a decade he lived on the Lake of Geneva in Switzerland, becoming a Bohemian with boat-building fancies, painting only now and then. He later moved to Paris for a short period of time. He returned to England in 1840, when his sons, James and Thomas, both artists, were growing up. Danby exhibited his large (15 feet wide) and powerful The Deluge that year; the success of that painting, "the largest and most dramatic of all his Martinesque visions, revitalized his reputation and career. Other pictures by him were The Golden Age (c. 1827, exhibited 1831), Rich and Rare Were the Gems She Wore (1837), and The Evening Gun (1848). Some of Danby's later paintings, like The Woodnymph's Hymn to the Rising Sun (1845), tended toward a calmer, more restrained, more cheerful manner than those in his earlier style; but he returned to his early mode for The Shipwreck (1859).