John William Godward

Here’s John William Godward, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, from 1912. I have been sharing his work: solitary, pensive young women under blue Mediterranean skies, usually dressed the same way: a long crinkled dress with that slashed sleeve detail, a contrasting strip of cloth tied around the hips, a girdle below the bust. The hair may be tied, as here, or loose. When visible, feet are bare or in sandals. There is always a marble wall or bench, and flowers, and sometimes trees, the sea, a statue, a cat, a letter, an aqueduct, furs…

Here is a variation of dress.

I love the colours of the clothes. Mondrian would paint quadrilaterals in an irregular grid, Godward wraps and dresses.

You might think him Pre-Raphaelite, but Wikipedia tells me he was a protege of Lawrence Alma-Tadema. There is a story that he wrote in his suicide note, “The world is not big enough for myself and a Picasso”. I love them. I love the care lavished on them, the veins in the marble, the drape of the cloth. I love the beauty of the surroundings, and imagine myself as the women reclining there. I have a few more to share, and will continue including them, in order of date of creation, in my posts, because I find them beautiful.

4 thoughts on “John William Godward

  1. They are very beautiful pictures. I love the Alma-Tadema tradition of classical representation, late Victorian/Edwardian ladies lounging in marble garden seats impossibly high above a stylised Mediterranean! It’s fantastical but gorgeous. Sue x

    Liked by 1 person

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