The Improvised Field Hospital
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Arty Fact

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Bazille’s stint at medical college wasn’t a total bust.

He may have failed his exams, but it wasn’t because he was incapable. As for Bazille, he simply wanted to paint canvases, not cut people open. In the summer of 1865, Monet injured his leg at the village of Chailly on one of his painting expeditions. Coincidentally, Bazille arrived at the scene to nurse his friend back to life. That weird contraption holding up Monet’s leg was designed by Bazille himself. 

Monet was poor at the time and really needed a model. He begged for Frederic Bazille to come down and pose for him, pestering him for months. But by the time Bazille finally arrived, Monet was bedridden. 

Bazille and Monet were in an abusive relationship, with the latter doing the abusing. It’s no surprise that Monet was an unpleasant man. He always made sure to tell his friends and followers that he was better than them. He would often hound Bazille for being a lesser painter than him, hurl abuses at him, and then force him to pay his rent and buy his paintings. Monet was using Bazille. He knew that, of course. That’s why this painting is so hysterical, Bazille finally got back at the pioneering impressionist.

Claude Monet lies motionless on his bed, looking a little annoyed. He had been working on Luncheon on the Grass, inspired by Manet’s LuncheonFrederic was thrilled that Monet needed him. He told his father, “Monet awaits me, as if I was his Messiah." You were a lot more than that to him, Bazille. You were his sugar daddy.



  1. “Frédéric Bazille The Improvised Field Hospital.” Musée d'Orsay: Frédéric Bazille The Improvised Field Hospital, February 4, 2009.
  2. Chong, Corrine. “Chong Reviews Frederic Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism.” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. Accessed September 30, 2019.
  3. Katz, Robert, and Dars Celestine. The Impressionists Handbook. New York, NY: MetroBooks, 1999.
  4. Manning, Mary. “Monets Vulnerable Masculinity in Frédéric Bazilles The Improvised Field Hospital.” The Journal of Mens Studies 21, no. 2 (January 2013): 127–34.
  5. Roe, Sue. The Private Lives Of The Impressionists. London: Vintage Digital, 2010.
  6. “National Gallery of Art.” National Gallery of Art (blog), April 9, 2017.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about The Improvised Field Hospital

The Improvised Field Hospital (French - L'ambulance improvisée) or Monet after His Accident at the Inn of Chailly is an 1865 painting by the French painter Frédéric Bazille. It shows Claude Monet in bed recovering from a leg injury he had sustained in summer 1865, in Chailly-en-Bière, small village just on the outskirts of the forest of Fontainebleau. The work has been in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris since 1986.

The Musée d'Orsay notes of the painting, "Bazille, whose work falls between Courbet's Realism and a nascent Impressionism, renders the event in every detail. On the untidy bed one can clearly see the red, inflamed wound on Monet's shin, while his face expresses his despondency at being immobilised in this way. The intimacy of the scene demonstrates the bonds of friendship between the two men."

Check out the full Wikipedia article about The Improvised Field Hospital.