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 :. | The Belvedere | Blossoming Red Almond | Athenais | A Souvenir | The Peacock Fan |
Related Artists:Osborne, William
Irish, 1823-1901Johann M Culverhouse
1821-1895John Rogers Herbert
English historical painter and portraitist .
was an English painter who is most notable as a precursor of Pre-Raphaelitism. Herbert was born in Maldon, Essex. In 1825, he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy. His early works were influenced by the troubadour style of Richard Parkes Bonington. Subjects showed the influence of Byron and exotic episodes of Venetian history. Haydee (1834) depicted the heroine of Byron's poem Don Juan. Herbert's first major success was The Appointed Hour (1835), depicting a melodramatic scene in which a Venetian man lies murdered at the place appointed for a tryst with his lover. The work became a popular engraving. Herbert followed it with other dramatic subjects such as A Prisoner of Condottieri Freed (1836) and Desdemona asks for Cassio (1838). After he was chosen to paint a portrait of Princess Victoria, before she became queen, he became a favourite portrait painter of the aristocracy. Around this time, he came under the influence of the architect William Payne, a convert to Catholicism. In 1840, Herbert also converted to the Catholic Church. He then painted mainly religious subjects in a style influenced by the artists of the Nazarene movement. Herbert was elected to membership of the Royal Academy in 1846. Herbert's paintings The First Introduction of Christianity into Great Britain (1842) and Our Saviour Subject to his Parents in Nazareth (1847) were the inspiration for the two most important early works of William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, founders of Pre-Raphaelitism. The two paintings, Hunt's A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Missionary and Millais' Christ in the House of His Parents were exhibited at the RA in 1850 to great controversy.