Jean-Frédéric Bazille (French, 1841–1870)
Oil on canvas
31 3/4 x 39 1/4 in. (80.6 x 99.7 cm)
Signed and dated (lower right): F. Bazille 1867
Purchase, Gift of Raymonde Paul, in memory of her brother, C. Michael Paul, by exchange, 1988 (1988.221)
This work is closely related to two other paintings of the fortified medieval town of Aigues-Mortes, near Montpellier, which Bazille painted during a visit in summer 1867 (Musée Fabre, Montpellier, and National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). In choosing to depict three views of a famous site in Languedoc, a region intimately associated with the history of Protestantism in France, Bazille was responding to the urban scenes that his friends Monet and Renoir had recently painted. Unwilling to accept the difficult challenge of a complex Parisian view, he instead tried a composition he considered "very simple."