After our time at the Hirshhorn we crossed The Mall to check out have some lunch over at The National Gallery of Art. After sharing a wonderful lunch in the Garden Cafe we discovered their current exhibit Frederic Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism.
Federic Brazil was an early impressionist who came of age with Renoir, Monet, Manet, Cezzane and likes. They were a close group and there are many paintings where they painted the same subjects and each other.
This last painting above is a Bazille that includes many of his impressionist friends in his studio, Bazille is the tallest standing beside the easel. Bazille’s parents always kept him in a studio in Paris and his young impressionist friends, including Renoir & Monet, often stayed and even lived with him in his various Paris studios. Note the painting on the upper left above the man on the stairs as it is the painting of the male nude featured above.
Bazille joined the Army at 29 years of age and left his young impressionist friends behind to only be tragically killed on his first assignment. He never gained the refinement nor fame that his contemporaries did due to his unfortunate untimely death.
Rumors do swirl around why he left and joined a faction of the army to fight on the front lines. Was he in love with one of his contemporaries that couldn’t be fulfilled? Did he need to get away? Was it almost an act of suicide? Or was he just looking for male companionship in the trenches? Rumors that will never be confirmed.
Homosexuality was quite frowned upon at the time and the place where he and his friends lived and bromanced. His counterparts went on to marry, he ran away. He housed and supported them and maybe it was only friendship. We will never know. We do know that the loss of his life at such a young age deprived the impressionist movement of a budding young talent who had hardly began his journey.