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 :. | Summer Flowers | Idle Thoughts | The Belvedere | A Grecian Lovely | Priestess |
Related Artists:Chiari, Giuseppe
Italian Baroque Era Painter, 1654-1727THORNHILL, Sir James
English painter (b. 1676, Melcombe Regis, d. 1734, Weymouth).
Polish Painter, 1838-1893
He studied from 1852 to 1858 at the School of Fine Arts in Krakew and, during this time, started exhibiting historical paintings with the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts there (e.g. Sigismund I Bestowing Nobility on the Professors of the University of Krakew in 1535 (1858; Krakew, Jagiellonian U., Mus. F.A.). After studying in Munich (1859) under the history painter Hermann Anschetz (1802-80) and then briefly and less successfully in Vienna, Matejko returned to Krak?w, where he was based for the rest of his life. In 1860 Matejko issued an illustrated album, Ubiory w Polsce (later editions 1875 and 1901), a project reflecting his intense interest in historical records of all kinds and his desire to promote such interest among the Polish people in an effort to intensify their patriotic feelings. This role first became widely associated with Matejko with his painting of Stanczyk (1862; Warsaw, N. Mus.), the court jester to King Sigismund I (1437-1548), to whom Matejko gave his own features. The jester is presented as a symbol of the nation's conscience