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 :. | With Violets Wreathed and Robe of Saffron Hue | Le Billet Doux | A Grecian Lovely | A Classical Beauty | Venus Binding her Hair |
Related Artists:Daniel Gardner
United Kingdom (1750 -1805 ) - DrawerOrpen, Willam
Irish, 1878-1931Andrea Soldi
Italian painter. George Vertue, the only source for Soldi's earliest years, described him in 1738 as a Florentine aged 'about thirty-five or rather more' who had been in England 'about two years'. He had previously been in the Middle East, where he painted some British merchants of the Levant Company who had advised him to go to London. Two three-quarter-length portraits called Thomas Sheppard (1733 and 1735-6; ex-art market, London, 1917 and 1924, see Ingamells, 1974) belong to this period. In London Soldi enjoyed considerable success in the period between 1738 and 1744; Vertue reported that he began 'above thirty portraits' between April and August 1738. He was extensively patronized by the 2nd and 3rd Dukes of Manchester (eight portraits, sold Kimbolton Castle, Cambs, 18 July 1949), the 3rd Duke of Beaufort (four portraits at Badminton House, Glos) and the 4th Viscount Fauconberg (eight portraits at Newburgh Priory, N. Yorks). The seated three-quarter-length of Isabella, Duchess of Manchester, as Diana (1738; London, Colnaghi's, 1986) and the informal full-length of Lord Fauconberg (c. 1739; Newburgh Priory, N. Yorks) exemplify his lively handling, strong colour and theatrical, Italianate imagination. In a less extravagant vein, the Duncombe Family (1741; priv. col., see Ingamells, 1974), a conversation piece of some charm, and the Self-portrait (1743; York, C.A.G.) suggest a versatile talent. Soldi's bravura contrasted with contemporary English portrait practice, then wavering between the sober manner of Kneller and a playful Rococo, and his attraction for Italianate Englishmen was obvious. He was rivalled only by Jean-Baptiste van Loo, who was in London between 1737 and 1742; both artists painted the dealer Owen McSwiny and the poet Colley Cibber about 1738. He far outclassed his Italian rivals, the Cavaliere Rusca (1696-1769), who worked in London from 1738 to 1739, and Andrea Casali, who was in London from 1741 to 1766.