John William Godward
(9 August 1861 – 13 December 1922)
Godward was an English painter from the end of the Pre-Raphaelite/Neo-Classicist era. 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 his becoming an artist, were ashamed of his suicide and burned his papers. No photographs of Godward are known to survive.
Godward was born in 1861 and lived in Wimbledon. He was born to John Godward (who was an investment clerk) and Sarah Eboral.
Godward was the eldest of five children and was named after his father John and grandfather William. The overbearing attitude of his parents resulted in Godward's reclusive and shy ways later in his adulthood.
He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1887. When he moved to Italy with one of his models in 1912, his family broke off all contact with him. Godward returned to England in 1919. He died in 1922 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, West London.
Godward was a Victorian Neo-classicist, and therefore a follower in theory of Frederic Leighton. However, he is more closely allied stylistically to Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, with whom he shared a penchant for the rendering of classical architecture, in particular, static landscape features constructed from marble.