FEMALE: Paintings With A New Perspective

Theme: Natural Beauty of Women Painted with New Perspective and Understanding.

The Artist: John Godward, a British painter and a Victorian Neo-classicist artist, was a follower in theory of Frederic Leighton. His paintings features women mainly in exotic classical dresses. He had also painted many semi-clothed and unclothed females. The master painter always try depicting stories, mainly mythological through such paintings. History of art witnesses that the artists of western and European countries seem unusually preoccupied with painting of natural beauty of human bodies, women and men alike. They make human form an important, a key building block of their art. In Eastern countries, barring India, such paintings are still a taboo.

IDLENESS by John Godward

Painting human body, especially female body, has remained the most fertile subject for the artists since primitive age. While conceiving to paint a clothe-less woman and choosing a model for the same, they have many purposes in mind, not forgetting the aesthetic one.

Venus in Art : Painters choosing human bodies as their models also keep certain theories in minds. Take the case of the radiating paintings of Venus. The paintings of Venus, Goddess of love, personify two most important aspects of human life: love and harmony. In many a paintings, she is shown with Mars, the God of war. Idea behind such depiction is to show the effort of love and sense of harmony to restraint the impulses that lead us to war. Main purpose of an artist here is to pacify the warmonger living within us.

The Art: An artists like Godward would consider the viewers as his joint partners in enjoying the art and adoring the beauty of human body. Thus while selecting females as models for their paintings, the artists desire to connect themselves with viewers emotionally. The painters wish convey the exact feeling they encounter while looking at the natural beauty of human bodies. During ancient time, whether it may be the paintings of Venus or the artworks done on the alters of churches, the artists' primary motive remained adoration of beauty of human figure, especially of female body.

John Godward: Painting Beauty and Grace of Women

The Art: John Godward was a fertile artist. He had produced much larger stock of frames and and five children. His paintings are the speaking stock of the artworks. When the colour-loaded brush of a painter runs on a canvas, it does not remain mute. It speaks. It sings a song along with the rhythm of the colours. And when we look at such a painting, we have our choices, desires and purposes. These purposes are as varied as the number of the people seeing it. For most of the people the work of art, a painting or a sculpture, is an object to look at and get enjoyed and be pleased. But for a creative artist, a painting, or any piece of artwork, is an allegory. It is because in a painting the figures are intended to personify a variety of abstract ideas and the thinking.

The Message
: If we know the story told through the painting, the imagination that a painter had in mind becomes clearer to our minds. After that the details of a painting function as a page of a book. The artists of western countries, mainly European, seem heavily preoccupied with painting the natural body of female and males. They have made the human body an important, a key building block of their art.

The Paintings: At first glance, Godward's paintings would look simple portraits of homely and beautiful women. But to conclude that would be a mistake. He had good architectural knowledge and had very deep knowledge of the dresses. Due to this extraordinary prowess, he could paint the tiniest details of the dresses and the parts of the building that happened to be on the canvas. Here in this painting we can see that how he has painted the artistic legs of the table on which the lady has put her beauty box, her make-up materials.

Look at the vibrant use of red and transparent red used for the clothes of the woman in the above painting, Tranquility (1914). The natural scene painted in the backside of the sitting womanadds to the natural beauty of the figure. Godward’s choice of subject matter was more properly that of the Victorian Neo-classicist. He had kept his palette a vibrantly colourful one. No colour and no mood would escape his palette.

In Godward's paintings, we would mark the supporting presence of landscape feature. His female figures, unclothed or clothed, are generally posed against landscape features. From his artworks and the dresses he painted, we can assume that he had painted under the influence of the artists of Classical Greco-Roman style of painting.(Image Courtesy By John William Godward (1861–1922) Description British painter Date of birth/death 9 August 1861(1861-08-09) 13 December 1922(1922-12-13) Location of birth Wimbledon, London, England (Art Renewal Center Museum, image 11092) [public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)
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