Archive for the Veronese Category

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


La Tentation de Saint Antoine, Georges Mélliès, 1898

Posted in Cézanne, Georges Melies, Saint Anthony the Abbot, Tintoretto, Veronese on January 12, 2011 by babylonbaroque

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Paolo Veronese


Musée d’Orsay


( A personal favorite, from an artist I particularly love, such a simple image, yet captures the poor bugger’s torment.)

January 17th, in addition to being the day we honor Dr. King , is also the feast day of Saint Anthony the Abbot. This Egyptian ascetic of the early church is best known to art lovers as the subject of countless  variations upon the theme of Temptation of Saint Anthony . As the Epiphany provided artists with its Magi, gold and Orientalist glamour; so does  the humble Anthony, with his sackcloth, skull and crucifix as his only protection, the dear hermit pitches battle with worldly temptation.

Many artists(myself included) have attempted to capture with paint that familiar struggle to live a life of virtue and truth only to be confronted time and again by worldly desires and values. I’m not speaking of orthodox faith, I speak of the most mundane struggles, creating art vs. mindless internet searches, Tolstoy vs. True Blood.

The theme  of temptation is so rich, how does an artist resist depicting these wanton demons?

Few do,  Georges Mélliès was no exception. I really love this little film of 1898, he  captures the spirit of the early depictions of the dear saint and his merciless vixens.

Really, has there ever been a more delightful version of The Temptation of Saint Anthony ???

I particularly love how he kisses the skull over the lusty temptresses.

The following  two paintings are so very close to the Mélliès interpretation that I am tempted to believe they might be inspiration.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Cornelis Saftleven


private collection

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Lucas van Leyden


Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts


Tintoretto presented a fleshy sexy earthy version of the temptation,

The Temptation of Saint Anthony



San Trovaso


I was surprised to find a version by Cézanne, I don’t particularly love it, but it is of interest,

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Paul Cézanne


Musée d’Orsay



The final image, from an artist I am unfamiliar with, has taken full advantage of the monstrous delights offered by Lust, Greed and Avarice.

The Temptation of Saint anthony

Bernardino Parenzano


Galleria Doria-Pamphili Rome

St. Anthony was known for his great desire to become holy, his attempts at holiness were to emulate his Savior. He is famous for saying “if you think me holy, become what I am , for we ought to imitate the good”.

From a secular artistic perspective, I plan, as an artist to emulate the above mentioned masters in their desire to capture universal struggles and truths. I look forward to one day producing a Temptation worth presenting, perhaps next feast day.

I submit this post a bit early, I must leave town for a family matter. I fear I am such a Luddite that I would n never be able to submit from my I-phone.

So with that, I send early wishes for a happy feast Day of the Blessed Saint Anthony of the Desert.


Babylon Baroque