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Home > Artist > John William Godward
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John William Godward

Born 1861——Died 1922
English Artist
Biography

John William Godward: (9 August 1861 – 13 December 1922) was an English painter from the end of the Pre-Raphaelite / Neo-Classicist era. He was a protégé of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema but his style of painting fell out of favour with the arrival of painters like Picasso. He committed suicide at the age of 61 and is said to have written in his suicide note that "the world was not big enough" for him and a Picasso.

His already estranged family, who had disapproved of him becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers. No photographs of Godward are known to survive.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1887. When he moved to Italy with one of his models in 1912, his family broke off all contact with him and even cut his image from family pictures. Godward returned to England in 1919, died in 1922 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, west London.

One of his best known paintings is Dolce far Niente (1904), which currently resides in the collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber. As in the case of several other paintings, Godward painted more than one version, in this case an earlier (and less well known) 1897 version.

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'.

 

Art Work
A Classical Beauty, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2559
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Classical Beauty
Original Size:
35.6 x 30.5cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Classical Beauty, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2560
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Classical Beauty
Original Size:
53.3 x 46.2cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Classical Beauty, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2561
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Classical Beauty
Original Size:
cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Classical Beauty In Profile, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2562
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Classical Beauty In Profile
Original Size:
63.5 x 51.4cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Classical Lady, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2563
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Classical Lady
Original Size:
127.5 x 66.5cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Congenial Task, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2564
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Congenial Task
Original Size:
77 x 77cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Cool Retreat, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2565
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Cool Retreat
Original Size:
cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Flower Seller, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2566
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Flower Seller
Original Size:
cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Fond Farewell, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2567
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Fond Farewell
Original Size:
23.9 x 18cm
Original Medium: watercolour
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A Grecian Girl, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2568
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Grecian Girl
Original Size:
94.6 x 94.6cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Grecian Lovely, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2569
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Grecian Lovely
Original Size:
50.8 x 40.6cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Greek Beauty, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2570
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Greek Beauty
Original Size:
cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Lily Pond, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2571
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Lily Pond
Original Size:
cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Melody, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2572
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Melody
Original Size:
cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
A Pompeian Bath, reproduction of John William Godward
Art work details
Item Number:
WHJ2573
Original Artist:
John William Godward
Original Name:
A Pompeian Bath
Original Size:
57 x 26cm
Original Medium: oil on canvas
Important:Before add the item to your shopping cart,Please make sure you have selected the size you want in the selection box above.
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