This breathtaking painting by the nearly forgotten French Academic artist Léon Bonnat, “Le Barbier du Suez” (1876), has been my favorite for several months now. Remember that such a statement is made by one who peruses and studies usually one hundred images per day.
Please don’t scold me. It has morphed into a realistic and proactive pastime while I await a heart. Clicking “save”, “delete”, “search”, or “post” actually burns few calories. Even then, there are still times when that ilk of activity is even beyond my list.
I digress. Bonnat’s “century and a half” old work gives me joy on a daily basis these days. His treatment of fabric and skin is unbelievable, if not mesmerizing. Further, the scale, lighting, and saturation of color are all perfection. That last being a word I haven’t used in several years.
The homoerotic, smoky, and sexy aspects didn’t occur to me until weeks after I initially discovered it. I jest not.
Having settled into my creative and ever-changing dotage, studying textiles fulfills some odd sort of sublimated sexual urge. And yes, I often am victim of the post-tryst munchies.
But I digress.
God bless the internet for both its reach and infinite search engines.
As an aside (from your humble trivia junkie): a list of Bonnat’s many students offers some familiar and surprising names. John Singer Sargent, Stanhope Forbes, Gustave Caillebotte, Georges Braque, Thomas Eakins, Raoul Dufy, Edvard Munch, Henry Siddons Mowbray, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.