The Improvised Field Hospital by Frederic Bazille in 1865 (Impressionism)
While Bazille is not as well known as Monet and Renoir, he played a vital role in the history of Impressionism.
Had he not been tragically killed only 8 years after beginning his studies in Paris he would certainly have gone on to be as successful as either Monet or Renoir
This painting of Claude Monet confined to bed with an injured leg, was painted in the summer of 1865. Bazille was sharing his studio with Monet. In the spring, Monet went in the forest of Fontainebleau to do some open air studies for his Déjeuner sur l’herbe. He urged Bazille to come and join him so that he could use him as a model. Bazille finally arrived in the summer, just before Monet had to break off from his work, following an accident
The characters in Bazille’s paintings are usually motionless, often somewhat fixed. His preference for the static seems to be perfectly suited to these particular circumstances where Monet was unable to move from his bed in his hotel room. Recalling his time as a medical student, Bazille himself constructed a complicated contraption to make his friend more comfortable
The intimacy of the scene demonstrates the bonds of friendship between the two men. Bazille was actually a great friend to his fellow impressionist painters. Generous with his wealth, he helped support his less fortunate associates by giving them space in his studio and materials to use. He also saved his friend Monet more than once ! In Jan 1867, Bazille purchased Monet’s “Women in the Garden” for 2,500 francs in order to help him out of the extreme debt (Monet had just slashed over 200 canvases to avoid them being taken by his creditors). Bazille joined a regiment in Aug 1870, a month after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. On Nov 28 of that year, his officer having been injured, he took command and led an assault on the German position. He was hit twice in the failed attack and died on the battlefield at the age of 28. His father travelled to the battlefield a few days later to take his body back for burial at Montpellier over a week later.