Noon Day Rest 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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The Noon Day Rest is an oil painting on canvas by the English painter, John Wiliam Godward. Most of Godward's paintings feature women who are dressed in classical dresses.

The women in the paintings are mostly painted within a landscape, while others are painted either semi-nude or fully nude. The inspiration of the Noonday Rest was part of Godward’s element in painting girls dressed in classical robes. Godward was keen on showcasing some important features on the Noonday Rest like the animal skin (the skin of a tiger). The painting also showcases a beautiful woman who rests on a marble terrace. For people who are viewing his work for the first time, it is easy to mistake him as a Pre-Raphaelite. This is because Godward’s palette is quite colourful. His choice of the subject leans on Victorian Neoclassicist. But it should be noted that just like most painters, Godward produced images that were inspired by the Victorian era.

John William Godward’s ability to come up with realistic paintings that rendered marbles, outstripped and surpassed his mentor, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s. You can easily see Godward's classical antiquity when you look at the settings that he used in his works of art and his drapery details. In the second half of the 19th century, classical history was revived by artists like Leighton, Alma-Tadema, Poynter, and Godward. The choice of this style of painting favoured the state of justice and affluence at that time.

The distribution of colours is quite exciting in this masterpiece. The background is painted in bright shades of purple to bring the mountains and the sea close by. The closest element to a viewer, which is the woman, is dressed in bright red and purple colours. These bright colours bring life to the painting. Godward established his reputation for painting beautiful women in classical settings quite early. His painting and skill on the Noonday Rest show his technical mastery and sensitivity to contrasting textures, fabrics, fur, marble, and flesh. The painting has now been in private collection for decades.