John William Godward
John William Godward's
Oil Paintings

John William Godward Museum
9 August 1861-13 December 1922, was an English painter.

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John William Godward
Contemplation
1903(1903) Oil on canvas Private collection
ID: 67958

John William Godward Contemplation
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John William Godward Contemplation


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John William Godward

English 1861-1922 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 :. | Leisure Hours | The Jewel Casket | The Fruit Vendor | A Grecian Girl | Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder |
Related Artists:
Hugo Birger
Swedish, 1854-1887 Swedish painter. He studied at the Konstakademi in Stockholm from 1871 to 1877. In 1877 he went to Paris and then spent the summer of 1878 at Barbizon with Carl Larsson, among others. There he painted several spontaneous plein-air paintings, such as Rue Gabrielle (1879; Goteborg, Kstmus.), in which the grey tones are contrasted realistically with exquisite colours. He also painted scenes of Parisian life, such as The Toilette (1880; two sketches in Stockholm, Nmus.), which aroused the interest of his contemporaries when it was exhibited at the Salon that year. Birger art was always conventional in style, allied to French salon painting. He was a master of technique and a brilliant subject painter, creating such scenes as In the Bower (c. 1880; Stockholm, Nmus.).
Tito Agujari
Italian, 1834-1908
Elisabeth Keyser
painted Fangsten bargas - Arildslage in 1889






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