John William Godward

John William Godward

John William Godward was a painter of classical genre scenes.  His works can perhaps best be understood in terms of the aesthetics of the circle of artists around Alma-Tadema, often described as the ‘Greco-West Kensington’ School, who saw the world of Ancient Greece as a Golden Age of poetic beauties and graceful languor.

Godward is perhaps best known for his portrayals of pretty girls attired in classical robes. The diaphanous fabrics of their Grecian tunics highlight their pearly flesh.  These elegant ladies are typically set in marble surroundings amidst abundant flowers.  Godward was often praised for his archaeologically exact rendering of the surfaces of marble and the flowing movement of classical costume.  These girls reminded one critic of ‘true English roses,’ as much as Hellenic goddesses, and it is this gentle beauty which is Godward’s greatest charm.

Godward exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between 1887 and 1905 and at the Royal Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street, of which he became a member in 1889.

A catalogue raisonne of the work of John William Godward RBA, is currently being prepared by Dr Vern Swanson, Director of the Springville Museum of Art, Utah, U.S.A in which this painting will be included.