After the horrors of the Great War, Leroux returned each year to his haven, Rome. Amazingly, the horrors of the conflict did not embitter his art forever … as it had for many. As can be seen here, Leroux returned to, and embraced, life.
This is actually quite an idyllic picture. The youths bathe in the Tiber, kissed by the glorious Italian sunshine. Leroux depicts their nude bodies with a wonderful innocence and forming a perfect triangle between the boat’s mast and the diver.
Not surprisingly, the one clothed figure is separated from the rest of the group –and he looks on, perhaps feeling his exclusion. Perhaps Leroux is saying that happiness is natural … the bathing suit is of a color with the man-made landscape in the background.
I like to think of Leroux in Italy, making beautiful things, cleansed after putting the carnage of the Great War, with all of its pain and its horror, behind him.