This is a painting that I fell in love with as soon as I laid eyes on it. I don’t know why or for what reason. But it just kept beckoning me. This painting had something special in it. It may have been Lady Godiva’ courage or her faith which the artist has managed to capture in the painting.
Godiva (or Godgifu) (fl. 1040-1080) was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England so as to gain a remission of the oppressive toll imposed by her husband on his tenants. The name “Peeping Tom” for a voyeur comes from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.
John Collier’s “Lady Godiva”, with its meticulously descriptive style, rich color and fine, nearly invisible brushstrokes is just a beauty!!! It also eloquently expresses the dignity and humility of the 11th century noblewoman’s fabled ride to protest the excessive taxation by her husband.
Collier (1850-1934) was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter who was educated in London by Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Edward Poynter, later moving to Paris to study with Jean-Paul Laurens. Insisting upon extreme, sometimes workmanlike accuracy in his paintings of historical and mythological scenarios, Collier also painted numerous portraits of kings, noblemen, actors and socialites, and was a founding member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
You can read more about Godiva from http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/LadyGodiva.htm
or from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Godiva
To me, this painting of Lady Godiva is a symbol of a woman’s faith in herself and her dedication to her subjects for their well-being. It is her sturdy belief in herself which I can see in this painting.