A Pompeian Lady by John William Godward
A Pompeian Lady by John William Godward

A Pompeian Lady

A Pompeian Lady c1904 by British Painter John William Godward (1861 – 1922); who’s career spanned the end of the Neo-Classical era. He also painted in the Symbolism, Aestheticism and Academic Art Movement Styles

A Pompeian Lady is a beautiful and alluring portrait of a young woman of the Pompeian era relaxing on a tiger skin covered marble bench on her balcony that over looks a landscape of tall trees, the sea and a mountain on the opposite side.

The balcony is composed of a white marble ledge that has a large column on that has a column composed of a flat square base, a circular on top, and a beautiful multicolored column; part of which is covered by a large maroon colored drape that is placed behind her face.

On the young ladies red hair is a series of silver straps that make up a headdress which ties her bundled hair back, and complement the two orange straps with black geometric patterns on them that cross over each other at her back, holding her sheer blue robe or gown in place, which has three buttons on the upper arm portion of the short sleeves.

The teal blue color of her dress is nicely contrasted with the slightly darker color of the water and the light blue sky, that transitions down to a misty white hue, highlighting the mountains we see in the distance.

A Pompeian Lady is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas, wood, acrylic and metal print online.

Info Below From Wikipedia.org

John William Godward was the eldest of five children, and was named after his father John and grandfather William.

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 1921, died in 1922, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, West London.

One of his best-known paintings is Dolce far Niente (1904), which was purchased for the collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1995. 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 with a further 1906 version.

He committed suicide at the age of 61 and is said to have written in his suicide note that “the world is not big enough for [both] myself and a Picasso”.

His estranged family, who had disapproved of his becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers. Only one photograph of Godward is known to survive.

Godward was a Victorian Neo-Classicist, and therefore, in theory, a follower 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 landscape features; although there are some semi-nude and fully nude figures included in his oeuvre, a notable example being “In The Tepidarium c1913”.

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; which was classical civilization, most notably that of Ancient Rome; a subject binding Godward closely to Alma-Tadema artistically.

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 an archaeologist as well as a painter, who attended historical sites and collected artifacts he 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 other important features in his paintings, animal skins of which the paintings “Noon Day Rest c1910” and “A Cool Retreat c1910” contains examples of such rendition as well as wildflowers “Nerissa c1906” and “Summer Flowers c1903”.

The appearance of beautiful women in studied poses in so many of 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. The choice of subject matter (ancient civilization versus, for example, Arthurian legend) is more properly that of the Victorian Neo-classicist.

In common with numerous painters contemporary with him, Godward was a ‘High Victorian Dreamer’, producing images of an idealized and romanticized world that, in the case of both Godward and Alma-Tadema, came to be criticized as a world-view of Victorians in togas.

Godward “quickly established a reputation for his paintings of young women in a classical setting and his ability to convey with sensitivity and technical mastery the feel of contrasting textures of flesh, marble, fur and fabrics.

Godward’s penchant for creating works of art set in the classical period probably came from the time period in which he was born; as it was the last full-scale classical revival in western paintings, that flourished in England from the 1860s up until the 1890s.

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