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 :. | A Pompeian Lady | Erato at Her Lyre | He Loves Me He Loves Me Not | A Classical Beauty | The New Perfume |
Related Artists:James Abbot McNeill Whistler
b Lowell MA 1834 d London 1903Jules Cheret
French Printmaker , 1836 - 1932 Paris
was a French painter and lithographer who became a master of poster art. Often called the father of the modern poster. Born in Paris to a poor but creative family of artisans, a lack of finances meant Jules Cheret had a very limited education. At age thirteen, he began a three-year apprenticeship with a lithographer and then his interest in painting led him to take an art course at the Ecole Nationale de Dessin. Like most other fledgling artists, Cheret studied the techniques of various artists, past and present, by visiting Paris museums. He was trained in lithography in London, England, from 1859 and 1866, and there he was strongly influenced by the British approach to poster design and printing. On returning to France, influenced by the scenes of frivolity depicted in the works of Jean-Honore Fragonard and other Rococo artists such as Antoine Watteau, Cheret created vivid poster ads for the cabarets, music halls, and theaters such as the Eldorado, the Olympia, the Folies Berg??res, Theatre de l'Opera, the Alcazar d'Ete and the Moulin Rouge. So much in demand was he, that he expanded his business to providing advertisements for the plays of touring troupes, municipal festivals, and then for beverages and liquors, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Eventually he became a major advertising force, adding the railroad companies and a number of manufacturing businesses to his client list. As his work became more popular and his large posters displaying modestly free-spirited females found a larger audience, pundits began calling him the "father of the women's liberation." Females had previously been depicted in art as prostitutes or puritans. The women of Cheret's posters, joyous, elegant and lively - 'Cherettes', as they were popularly called ?? were neither. It was freeing for the women of Paris, and lead to a noticeably more open atmosphere in Paris where women were able to engage in formerly taboo activities, such as wearing low-cut bodices and smoking in public. Helen Allingham,RWS