Dolce Far Niente 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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Dolce Far Niente is one of the most famous paintings by the Neo-Classicist artist, John William Godward and here we examine this fine work in greater detail.

Sweet Idleness is the direct translation of this painting's title and was also the name given to as many of seven other artworks during his career. In truth, this theme summarises his entire career, with a consistent style and content which persisted throughout. All of Godward's signature style can be found in the painting displayed here, from the angelic female model, to the classical clothing, the marble architectural touches and also the animal fur on which she rests. This was not an artist who experimented greatily, something that can be seen as either a strength or weakness depending on your own artistic taste.

This painting is dated at 1904 and is believed to have been added to a private collection. The majority of John William Godward's paintings remain in and around the UK, with several collectors being particularly passionate about this art movement.

The content used by Godward to create this atmosphere of Dolce Far Niente, or Sweet Idleness, was similar in many ways to members of the British Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood as well as perhaps the mythological depictions of Gustav Klimt. The style however is much more closely aligned with Frederic Leighton and Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema whose careers were dominated by the presence of classical influences by ancient Rome and Greece.