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 :. | Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder | Leisure Hours | Under the Blossom that Hangs on the Bough | Idleness | The engagement ring |
Related Artists:MEI, Bernardino
Italian painter, Roman school (b. 1612, Siena, d. 1676, Roma)
Italian painter, draughtsman and printmaker. His early art drew on a variety of sources, which included the naturalism of Rutilio Manetti and Francesco Rustici, the descriptive realism of the engraver Giuliano Periccioli (d 1646) and the Baroque of Raffaelle Vanni. Mei's interests even embraced 16th-century Sienese art. This stylistic variety is evident in his first known works, such as a bier (Casole d'Elsa, Collegiata), three signed miniatures in the Libro dei leoni (1634; Siena, Pal. Piccolomini, Archv Stato) and frescoes of scenes from the Life of St Bernard (1639; Siena, oratory of S Bernardino). His experimental approach is also displayed in such works as the Annunciation (Siena, Mus. Semin. Montarioso), which may be dated between the mid-1630s and the early 1640s. Mei's early maturity is marked by a conscious return to the naturalism of Manetti, enriched with a Baroque pathos and soft, fluid brushwork, as in the St Peter in Prison Awoken by the Angel and St Peter Freed by the Angel (both Siena; Conservatori Femminili Riuniti). His interest in both naturalism and the Baroque made him responsive to the art of Mattia Preti, possibly seen in Rome, as in the Beheading of St John the Baptist (1647; Siena, oratory of S Giovannino in Pantaneto) and the frescoes of scenes from the Life of St Roch and Life of St Job (1648; Siena, S Rocco), Josef Hoffmann
painted Outside the Hall of the Gibichungs in 1876George Gardner Symons