John William Godward England
8-9-1861 Wimbledon, ENG – 12-13-1922 London, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
The overbearing attitude of his parents made John William Godward reclusive and shy later in adulthood. 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.
One of John William Godward best known paintings is Dolce far Niente (1904), which currently resides in the collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The vast majority of John William 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.
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. Godward, studied such details as architecture and dress, in order to ensure that his works bore the stamp of authenticity.
The appearance of beautiful women in studied poses in so many of John William Godward's canvases causes many newcomers to his works to categorize him mistakenly as being Pre-Raphaelite, particularly as his palette is often a vibrantly colorful one. However, the choice of subject matter (ancient civilization versus, for example, Arthurian legend) is more properly that of the Victorian Neoclassical.
John William Godward committed suicide at the age of 61 and said in his suicide note that "the world is not big enough for myself and a Picasso". His already estranged family, who had disapproved of his becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers. No photographs of Godward are known to survive.
Art Movement: Victorian Classicism
Influences: Lawrence Alma-Tadema