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 :. | Campaspe | Sweet Dreams | Autumn | Flabellifera | Dolce Far Niente |
Related Artists:May Wilson Preston
American , 1873-1949
(February 16, 1787, The Hague - April 19, 1870, The Hague) was a Dutch painter, etcher and lithographer, known for his landscape paintings.
He belongs to the Romantic movement. His Dutch winter scenes and frozen canals with skaters were already famous during his lifetime. He became one of the most influential Dutch landscape artists of his century.
He started as a house painter in the framing business of his father. He already started painting pictures in his spare time. After a well-received first exhibition in The Hague, his father sent him to receive proper training to Joannes Breckenheimer (1772-1856), a stage designer, in The Hague. He learned not only the technical aspects of painting, but also made detailed studies of the 17th-century Dutch landscape artists Meindert Hobbema en Jacob van Ruisdael.
In 1815 he started his own workshop. Through his technical excellence and sense of composition and his use of naturalistic colours, he soon became famous also outside The Hague. In 1819 he was awarded the Gold Medal at the exhibition in Antwerp. In 1818 he became a member of the Royal Academy for Visual Arts of Amsterdam. He reputation continued to grow and in1822 he was given the rank of Fourth Class Correspondent of the Royal Dutch Institute. From then on, one exhibition followed after another.
Initially he painted mainly summer scenes, beach scenes, and animal paintings. But as his initial winter scenes even had more success, he began to include them in his exhibitions. He was mainly a studio artist, relying on his sketches done en plein air. His sketchbook Liber Veritatis (Book of Truth) shows that he made about twenty paintings a year, among them a few foreign views. This indicated that he travelled abroad around 1825. In later years he visited France in 1833, England in 1835 (especially to study the works of Constable) and Germany.
He provided training to several painters who would become famous in their own right : Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch, Johan Jongkind (one of the forerunners of the Impressionists), Charles Leickert, Jan Willem van Borselen, Nicholas Roosenboom, Willem Troost, the American Hudson River School Painter Louis Remy Mignot and his son-in-law Wijnand Nuyen.
At the end of his career he put together a series of eighty landscape drawings, mainly recordings of previous paintings and watercolours. They were drawn in chalk and lightly coloured.
His death marked the end of the Romantic period in Holland. He is considered a precursor of the Hague School