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J.W. GODWARD 1861-1922 The Eclipse of Classicism

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J.W. GODWARD 1861-1922 The Eclipse of Classicism

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New Revised Edition. Highly Recommended. By Vern G. Swanson. Art by J.W. Godward. John William Godward (1861-1922) was among the brightest stars of the late Graeco-Roman painters during classicism's twilight years. Some believe he equalled Alma-Tadema in his depiction of marble and flowers and Frederic Leighton in his depiction of drapery. I like to compare him to Maxfield Parrish, since he also discovered the value of appealing young women, nude or partially clothed. That became a favorite subject for him, as it did for Parrish a generation later.

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John William Godward (1861-1922) was among the brightest stars of the late Graeco-Roman painters during classicism's twilight years. Some believe he equalled Alma-Tadema in his depiction of marble and flowers and Frederic Leighton in his depiction of drapery. I like to compare him to Maxfield Parrish, since he also discovered the value of appealing young women, nude or partially clothed. That became a favorite subject for him, as it did for Parrish a generation later.

However, his own reclusive nature, society's loss of interest in classical subject painting, aggressive modernist art and the efforts of his disapproving family conspired to plunge Godward into obscurity after he was at the top of his game. Godward's art was more than escapist; it was purposely beautiful in an age plunging headlong into industrialization and stark reality.

Swanson's original edition of John William Godward introduced the life of a very private man who pushed the classical ideal further into the twentieth century than most would think possible. This revised edition contains the author's latest research -- significant expansions to the text, as well as approximately 100 new pictures, many of which have only recently been attributed to Godward.

From Wikipedia:

The vast majority of Godward's extant images feature women in classical dress, posed against these landscape features, although 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. The titles reflect Godward's source of inspiration: Classical civilization, most notably that of ancient Rome (again a subject binding Godward closely to Alma-Tadema artistically), although 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. Godward 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 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), 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. 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 the world moved into "modern art."

Additional Information

Additional Information

Item Code JWGODH
Publisher Acc Art Books
Publish Date 2018
ISBN 9781851499038
Binding Hard Cover
Dimensions 9x12
# Pages 368pg
Color Full Color
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