At the Gate of the Temple John William Godward Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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At The Gate Of The Temple was created by John William Godward in 1898. It was done in the Neoclassical style which was a reflection of Greek and Roman history.

There was also a strong focus on the mythology of this period. The materials used for this painting are oil and canvas. Oils were a popular choice for the Neoclassical artist because of the slow drying time which made it easy to manipulate. This gave Godward the opportunity to create a variety of textures and effects. Oils also have a smooth and buttery finish which is perfect for creating the smooth textures that are typically seen in the Neoclassical paintings including At The Gate Of The Temple.

To create an authentic look and feel for this painting, Godward studied Roman and Greek architecture. He also studied the costumes worn during this period to ensure that his paintings were authentic and true to Classical history. This was important because the people who would potentially purchase his paintings were well educated and knowledgeable in these types of works. He had to prove that he knew this period of history well.

At The Gate Of The Temple features a woman standing erect guarding the temple of Dionysius. The model that usually posed for Godward was Lily Pettigrew and she was probably used for this painting. Here she is holding a thyrsus staff that has a pine cone at the top. This staff is typically associated with Dionysius. What is interesting about this painting is that even though the woman is standing erect, she still looks very delicate in her appearance. She is calm and rational evoking the values of order and solemnity which are the values of Classicism. It is not clear who owns At The Gate Of The Temple since it is always shown as being part of a private collection. This particular portrait was considered to be one of Godward's best and bears a close resemblance to The Priestess which was completed by the painter in 1894.