In the mid-nineteenth century in France, a style called Realism arose in painting as a reaction against the theatrical compositions and exotic subject matter engendered by Romanticism, the then popular style. Realists emphasized everyday subjects and naturalism. This led to experimentation with landscape, and with painting directly outdoors.
The painting of landscapes outdoors with an emphasis on naturalism, naturally led to the Impressionism movement. In Impressionism, the realist emphasis on naturalism was taken to its scientific extreme. Impressionists tried to depict the optical effects of light and atmosphere on forms.
While studying painting part time, Bazille met Renoir, and ultimately Manet, Monet and Sisley, studying with the impressionists in 1864. Although interested in painting outdoors (en plein air), he preferred figures to landscapes. He was interested in the effects of light on flesh tones, evident in this self-portrait. Despite the impressionist interest in spontaneity and light, his palette retained the academic dark tonality earth tones.
Artform: PAINTING AND DRAWING, Pre-20th Century
Artist: Bazille, Frédéric
Artist Dates: 1841-1871
Period: 19th century
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 198.9 x 71.1 cm
Museum: Art Institute of Chicago
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