In the Tepidarium (1913)
The classicist painter John William Godward didn't paint many nudes; largely relying on form fitting drapery to provide sensuous effect. We looked at one of his earlier pictures, Venus Binding her Hair (1897) in a previous post and explored his life until that point. In the Tepidarium was painted sixteen years later in Rome, rather than Chelsea, and is altogether a less monumental piece than the 90" tall Venus; this painting being around 40" tall.
Godward was driven away from his house, in 1905, due to the noise from the construction of the new Chelsea Football Club ground at Stamford Bridge. He took the opportunity to travel to Italy for the first time. Godward stayed in Capri but travelled around southern Italy, sketching.
In the Tepidarium pencil sketch (1913)
In the period 1910 to 1912 Godward moved to Rome more permanently and lived there, off and on, for a decade. Godward was finding that London was becoming hostile to his style of painting, as more modernist art held sway. He hoped that Rome might be more appreciative of his style. In addition, it seems that he left London to run off with his model, an Italian beauty. It was said that his mother never forgave him for this unseemly behaviour, especially as she had never wanted him to become an artist in the first place.