By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward
By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward
By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward

By the Blue Ionian Sea by John William Godward

  • This Neoclassical genre painting was composed by the great John William Godward
  • Godward's works are renowned for their implicit sensuality and masterful detail
  • The artist is widely considered one the most important classical painters of the Victorian era
  • His mastery over color and texture make this work among the best of his oeuvre
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Item No. 30-8421
John William Godward
1861-1922 | British

By the Blue Ionian Sea

Signed and dated "J.W. Godward 1916"
Oil on canvas

A beautiful classical maiden lounges seaside in this original oil by John William Godward. Entitled By the Blue Ionian Sea, the work is exemplary of Godward's unique take on the Neoclassical style. Devoted to a segment of Classicism known as the Marble School, Godward's distinctive canvases are renowned for their Greco-Roman subjects placed within architectural settings inspired by antiquity. The cool smoothness of the marble and translucent gossamer of his subject's robes reveal the high degree of technical skill that sets Godward apart from his contemporaries.

Godward's career was devoted to these portrayals of women within Neoclassical settings, usually dark-haired beauties draped in diaphanous fabrics. While the classically inspired elements in his works were not based on authentic ancient models, Godward's elaborate settings come to life through his devotion to detail. In By the Blue Ionian Sea, details such as the lush tiger pelt, the verdant trees, and the distant luminous clouds all come together to present a breathtakingly realistic scene.

Within this perfectly composed world, Godward heightens the inherent sensuality of his subject through a masterful use of contrast. The vivid, jewel-like tones of her flowing tunic seem especially rich as they fall over her smooth skin. These colors are complemented by the tiger's pelt beneath her, which appears soft to the touch thanks to Godward's minute rendering of each individual hair. It is these subtle, yet alluring details that demonstrate Godward's genius as an artist.

Raised in Wimbledon, Godward debuted at London’s Royal Academy exhibition in 1887. By the subsequent decade, the burgeoning artist was on a steady ascent to artistic success. Having fallen under the influence of British Neoclassical Revivalists Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Lord Frederic Leighton, and Sir Edward John Poynter, Godward quickly adopted, if not rivaled, their style. He envisioned similar scenes of the ancient world, seamlessly blending antiquity and beauty in breathtaking compositions. The sensuality and mystery of Godward’s maidens, combined with his impressive antique backdrops, attracted fans across Europe and sent Godward on a rapid ascent to artistic stardom. In 1889, he was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists. Ten years later Godward debuted at the Parisian Salon of 1899, where again he was heaped with praise. In the early years of the 20th century, however, Godward was faced with the painful reality that the classical world he so loved was being overshadowed by modern art movements. He moved to Rome in 1912 to surround himself with the physical remnants of the classical world, and there he stayed for the major part of his remaining career.

Dated 1916

Canvas: 31” high x 15 1/4” wide
Frame: 44 1/2” high x 29” wide
Artist: Godward, John William
Framed:29.0"W x 44.5"H
Unframed:15 1/4"W x 31"H
Period: 1816-1918
Depth:4.5 Inches
Width:29.0 Inches
Height:44.5 Inches
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