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John William Godward - British Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - John William Godward (1861 - 1922)

Although little is known about the life of John William Godward, it is evident that he was inspired by the neoclassical painter, Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema. He was known for his depiction of ancient Greek and Roman life. Because of his favored subject matter, he was placed into the “Marble School” which was known for its interest in antiquities. Godward was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London. However, as the neoclassical style fell out of popularity, so did Godward’s work. Nonetheless, Godward continued to paint in the style until his death in 1922. He was a protégé of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema but his style of painting fell out of favour with the arrival of painters like Picasso. He committed suicide at the age of 61 and is said to have written in his suicide note that "the world was not big enough" for him and a Picasso. His already estranged family, who had disapproved of him becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers. No photographs of Godward are known to survive.

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