John William Godward is a neoclassicist painter of the early 20th century who failed to overcome the harsh criticism of the avant-garde
John William Godward is a neoclassicist painter of the early 20th century who failed to overcome the harsh criticism of the avant-garde
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John William Godward and fragments of his paintings

The period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was very rich in artists who worked in a wide variety of styles. But be it too harsh criticism, personal troubles or problems with the authorities, the works of many painters were consigned to oblivion, and their names were forgotten. This is exactly what happened to the artist John William Godward, who wrote in the style of "neoclassicism". But at the turn of the century, avant-garde art was gaining popularity, so Godward's work remained underestimated.

John William Godward was an English neoclassical painter (1861-1922)

John William Godward (John William Godward) was born in 1861 in the family of an investment clerk. The family belonged to the middle class, so John received a good education and the opportunity to paint. When the young man grew up, he was offered a place in his father's firm, but he refused, arguing that he wanted to continue painting. The family did not appreciate his son's passion for painting, considering his work to be daubs unworthy of a man.

Nerissa. J.W. Godward, 1906

In addition to disagreements with his family, John Godward constantly faced harsh condemnation from avant-garde critics who favored Fauvism and Cubism. The images of people in his canvases, skillfully executed in Greco-Roman themes, were mockingly dubbed by his contemporaries as "Victorians in togas."

The artist himself was unique in that he paid close attention to detail: marble terraces of ancient times are visible on his canvases, all models correspond to the Greco-Roman type. At first, his work was admirable, but they were all of the same type. These were images of women in antique draperies. This fact was not pointed out to the artist, but he stubbornly continued to paint in the style of "neoclassicism".

Athenais. J.W. Godward, 1908

The lack of demand for the artist led to the fact that he committed suicide in 1922. Fearing to tarnish his reputation, John William Godward's family destroyed all of his property and photographs. In a suicide note, the artist wrote: "The world was not big enough for me and Picasso."

Lycinna. J.W. Godward, 1918

John William Godward was remembered again in the 1970s in the wake of interest in salon and decorative arts. Only then did collectors begin to acquire his works, and art critics began to study the artist's work more thoroughly.

Dolce far Niente (Sweet idleness) - one of the artist's most famous paintings, 1904 Nu Sur La Plage (Nude on the Beach). J.W. Godward, 1922

The last painting by John William Godward was Nu Sur La Plage. In it, the artist departed from his usual manner of depiction. This canvas is very often included in the lists. the latest paintings by artists who committed suicide.

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