Archive for the Jean-Frédéric Bazille 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

Jean-Frédéric Bazille, Eros Hidden in Plain Sight

Posted in 19th Century, Duncan Grant, Gay, Jean-Frédéric Bazille, Renoir, Veronese on January 26, 2011 by babylonbaroque

Many of my readers will be quite familiar with this image; in addition to its obvious beauty,  it most likely has titillated at least a few.

Fisherman With A Net


Bazille was 27 when he painted this, a year away from his untimely death. Harsh critics have quibbled about his work, begrudgingly placing him amongst his friends and fellow Impressionists  Renoir, Monet and Sisley. I am perplexed at this  hesitation, there may be some youthful clumsiness in the background figure (I wish I were so clumsy), but I suspect what really keeps Bazille out of Olympus is the rather blatant homoeroticism of his work.

Summer Scene


Fogg Art Museum

The gorgeous coloring, the classical poses and the confident brushwork are to the author far more appealing then so much of Renoir’s saccharine confections; yet Bazille is often not mentioned or as well known to the Water-lily loving set. I see shades of Poussin and Puvis de Chavannes, but perhaps I am over-reaching.

Self -portrait


Art Institute of Chicago

There is no evidence of Bazille’s being homosexual, but some have assumed . This young fellow from Montpellier, of middle class background and independent means, rejected his father’s desire to pursue medicine to take up painting in 1862. His social and artistic circle included as i mentioned before Renoir, Monet and Sisley, but it also included Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire; one would be excused for making assumptions.

As Bazille was financially more secure then his painting chums, he was more then open to sharing his studio.

As you can see it is artfully decorated, the lilac walls a charming touch.

Bazille’s Studio;9 rue de la Condamine


Difficult to not notice the absence of the fairer sex, I enjoy seeing Fisherman With A Net on the wall.



In addition to self-portraits and interior views, Bazille and his fellow painters took turns posing and painting. This portrait of Renoir reminds me of certain paintings by Duncan Grant most particularly the portrait of his lover Maynard Keynes.

Portrait of Renoir



At least to this author there is a certain intimacy to this image, that feels quite similar to the sexiness of Grant’s work.

Bazille was painted by Renoir in 1867, it lacks that sensual quality.

Bazille At His Studio



Musée d’Orsay


Perhaps in addition to the underlying eroticism of some of his work; Bazille had a finely developed sense of the lovely. His floral painting are lush, rich with color and tickle the senses; qualities critics usually reject.



African Woman With Peonies


I particularly love this painting, feels so Venetian, so reminiscent of Veronese.

Bazille was also able to capture the modest charm of a dog in one’s studio, a subject that is particularly dear to my heart.

The Dog Rita Asleep


Although Bazille could have avoided military service, he chose to enlist, dying tragically in battle on the 28th of November 1870.

We will never know what wonders he could have produced, his death a gain for Mars, a loss for Man.


Jean-Frédéric Bazille

b. 6th December 1841

d.28th november 1870

Recquiscat in Pace

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque