Myrhinna by John William Godward

  • The Amazon warrior queen Myrhinna is the subject of this striking painting by John William Godward
  • Godward was a master of Neoclassical art at the turn of the century
  • His mastery of texture and detail lends his painting unparalleled realism
  • The dramatic palette, luxurious fabrics and classical vision are Godward trademarks
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 30-2112

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John William Godward
1861-1922 | British


Signed and dated "J.W. Godward / 1915"; inscribed "Myrhinna / J.W. Godward / Rome / 1915" en verso
Oil on canvas

John William Godward is considered among the top British Neoclassical artists of his time. His career was devoted to a segment of Classicism known as the Marble School, with Greco-Roman subjects placed within elaborate settings that often centered upon marble architectural elements. His elegantly adorned beauties are depicted with a degree of technical mastery that remains unsurpassed. The present painting, entitled Myrhinna, showcases the classical elements for which Godward is celebrated.

The artist brings to life the ancient legend of Myrhinna, an Amazon queen and warrior after which a town in Lemnos, Greece, was named. The empowered stare, vibrant palette, flowing fabrics, and beautifully grained marbles utilized in this work are all hallmarks of this remarkable artist. Godward's work is most celebrated for its implicit sensuality and masterful, naturalistic detail. This work is no exception, as his subject gazes languidly outwards at the viewer with marble and velvet intricately rendered in the background.

Raised in Wimbledon, England, 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 their style.

The sensuality and mystery of Godward’s female subjects, combined with his impressive Greco-Roman settings, 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 most of his remaining career. 

Dated 1915

Canvas: 16" high x 18" wide
Frame: 25" high x 27" wide

Messrs. M. Newman, Ltd., London, July 9, 1942;
Mrs. William R. Fasey, Serendocks, Kent and sold at Christie's London, June 24, 1949;
Christie's London, November 6, 1995;
Waterhouse & Dodd, London, 1995;
Wayne Gould, December 1995

John William Godward, The Eclipse of Classicism, Vern G. Swanson Ph.D, 1997, pages 239-240, illustrated
Myrhinna by John William Godward
Maker: Godward, John William
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: England
Type: Paintings
Width: 27.0 Inches
Height: 25.0 Inches
Style: Neoclassicism

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