Frédéric BAZILLE, The Ramparts, Aigues-Mortes [Les remparts d’Aigues-Mortes] 1867
Frédéric Bazille was a friend of Alfred Bruyas and became an important early member of the Impressionist movement in Paris, where he was associated with August Renoir, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley among others. Bazille painted at least three different views of Aigues-Mortes near Montpellier, experimenting with different compositions and formats. While many of his early works have been lost, this rare early landscape is marked by the characteristics of the Provençal landscape tradition, including the work of Paul Guigou. The scene stretches with clarity and precision from a low point of view to great effect, the marshy foreground opening up to the fortified port town. The painting captures the glorious colours typical of the region and evokes the sensation of the different surfaces by various techniques. The painting also makes clear Bazille’s interest in using the effects of light on surfaces as a means of defining mass and form.