The Classical Beauty of J.W. Godward

June 6th, 2012 | posted by Deborah Choate
A Stitch In Time, JW Godward, oil on canvas, 1917

It excites me to share with you this exquisite new painting that has just arrived in the gallery entitled, A Stitch In Time by J.W. Godward. Known as a Victorian Neo-classicist and “High Victorian Dreamer”, Godward often portrayed women in everyday situations, elevated by rich textures of a neo-classical setting. A Stitch In Time captures these romanticized elements and draws the viewer in with meticulous attention to detail.

 Godward’s use of saturated colors juxtaposed against the cool white marble background and lush foliage leaves the viewer feeling like she has stepped outside the constraints of time itself. A more intense look at the painting reveals a secondary element within the complex composition. 

 As the young woman sews, beautifully draped in sumptuous fabrics, Godward asks us to admire not only her beauty, but her dedication to the simple task she performs. Through the careful rendering of this tranquil beauty’s gown and the surrounding scene, we sense not only admiration, but possibly love for her.

 The classical sculpture in the background acts as a mirror for the young seamstress. By placing both beauties within the composition, Godward invites a comparison between the two. He clearly wants us to see the woman as one would see the sculpture: beautiful and idealized.

To say that one is dazzled by the splendor and artistry contained within Godward’s canvas is an understatement. Even more engaging is the undercurrent of affection we can read from his purity of technique. Whether you are a Godward collector or simply a lover of great beauty, A Stitch In Time would be an important addition to consider for your collection!

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