Capital Treasures 3

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. 

Fabulous!

A Pierre-Auguste Renoir on the left of Federic Bazzile painting his Still Life with Heron on right.

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.

Fearsome stands amount the Beards of the great impressionists.

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.

Frederic Bazille

Capital Treasures

Fearsome, The Better Half and I are all three galavanting about on holiday. Our first stop was in our nation’s capital. We took the opportunity to focus on the beauty and inspiration that is available in D.C.

First up was the Hirshhorn and what a treat to find part of Ai WeiWei’s @Large which he designed for and exhibit at Alcatraz.

The Hirshhorn’s long curving spaces lend themselves to exhibiting these pieces designed for large Alcatraz common spaces.

Legos are the medium for the pixilated portraits of 176 exhiled or imprisoned activists.

The pixelated portraits lend themselves to viewing through the lense of ones smartphone. Some being almost completely unrecognizable/illegible to the naked eye without this technology we all hold in our pockets. A technology, that if used properly, can enlighten us.

Intricate wallpaper detail of security cameras, handcuffs and Twitter birds.

This part of his Alcatraz exhibit is entitled Trace. It extends for one full circle of the Hirshhorn’s second floor. Stunning.

Ai WeiWei himself is also an imprisoned freedom activist who isn’t allowed to leave his own country of China. The entire Alcatraz exhibit was created by him for the prison space with the help of many other artist who could aid in its design, creation, set up, delivery and installation. Ai WeiWei never was able to visit his own work in the space for which it was designed. The Twitter bird represents his own ability to speak freely beyond his confines while being detained and monitored continuously.