Archive for the Degas Category

Léon Bonnat, more then a pretty face

Posted in 19th Century, Degas, Giotto, Jean-Frédéric Bazille, Léon Bonnat on March 17, 2011 by babylonbaroque

As is often the case, I was browsing through my only real guilty pleasure, the wonderful blog sissydude when I  stumbled upon this arresting face.

Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat

Self portrait ca. 1850


It is a self portrait  of the 17 year old Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat, aside from being sickened by his prodigious talent, I was of course struck by his great beauty.


age 22

b. 20th of June 1833

d, 9th of September 1922

I know of Bonnat from only one work, this very sexy image of Jacob wrestling with the tormenting angel.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel


As I researched I began to realize I was far more familiar with his work then I had initially thought; I had seen images of his work, but hadn’t placed his pretty face as the author.



Like the painter Bazille there was this interconnection between Bonnat and his contemporaries; Bonnat sat for Degas, one can understand why Degas would want to record this face. It is difficult to not read a certain homo-social element to these portraits.

Edgar Degas

Léon Bonnat


aged 30


Of course I was fascinated to stumble upon this image of Bonnat’s studio.

It’s fun to see this image , with the painting of Job clearly visible.


Martyrdom of St.Denis

Le Barbier de Suez

Adam and Eve Mourning the Death of Abel


Aside from these frankly sexy images, Bonnat was well regarded as a painter of genre scenes.

Roman Girl at Fountain


Metropolitan Museum of Art

Giotto Gardant les Chèvres


I love this tale of Giotto, so I was particularly tickled to stumble upon this image.

I will certainly re-file it.

In addition to religious themed art, and genre painting, Bonnat was best known for his portraiture.

Madame Pasca


Musée d’ Orsay

Victor Hugo


All in all I  am terribly impressed with this painter, I admit I was drawn to that face, but his work satisfies long after his beauty has passed.

ca. 1890

age 57

As is so often the case , there is a Facebook page devoted to this great painter, please join me in and “like” the site.

I’m number 15, surely he deserves better then that!

Good night,

Babylon Baroque