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Painted only a year before Frederic Bazille's untimely death, Scéne d'été (Bathers Summer Scene) is a brightly, coloured impressionist oil painting on canvas dated 1869.
Amongst a vibrant, tree lined grassed area, eight male figures in various states of undress are frolicking in and around a river near Méric, France on a glorious summers day. The men of differing ages, shapes and forms are perfectly painted in positively, natural positions and showing their defined physique thus creating an air of enjoyment and tranquillity.
In the forefront, a younger boy bathes in the water whilst others appear relaxed in the surrounding environment. Two others mimic fighting on the green area, centre painting, and a gentleman in the background is in the midst of undressing ready to join his fellow friends. In his Paris studio, Bazille firstly drew his figures then took these preparations to the riverside setting to complete.
Whilst working with some of the greats... Renoir, Monet and Sisley inspired Bazille in many techniques. Monet encourage him to escape the confines of his shared studio and paint en plein air (in the open air), often together. During his short life, some of Bazille's work totally contrasted Bather Summer Scene but most take on the human form in all its glory. One example is Fisherman with a Net, painted the year previous, this piece depicts two nude males preparing for a fishing adventure showing off their defined muscular structure using clever light and angles to present this.
Another of his most well-known art work is The Family Reunion. Still using the human form but in a more formal dress style, he cleverly creates the atmosphere, with his attention to detail, as in all his other works. This painting could have been Thomas Eakins' inspiration for his work The Swimming Hole which also features a group of males enjoying time in a water filled scene. The Scéne d'été has been displayed in a number of galleries but can now be found in Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.