It’s summer as the garden is in full bloom, with an abundance of red roses and blue cornflowers.
Behind an intricate metal fence, a stretch of blue can be seen, possibly a pond, with behind it several green trees. Toward to end of a sandy path stand a wrought iron bench with a black wooden seat and back rest. In front of the bench is a wrought iron table, with on it what appears to be a carafe of water or a vase.
The scene suggests that a lady had been sitting on the bench, to read or merely rest and left in a hurry, forgetting her yellow bonnet. It makes the viewer wonder how many more people have sat in these beautiful, quiet surroundings. One might also wonder why Manet named this painting ‘The Bench’ rather than the garden as the bench seems like a small detail of the scene. Could it be that this bench held some significance for the painter?
For Manet, ‘The Bench’ was quite a change from his other paintings. Rather than people or still lives, he chose a landscape and gave it gave it a cheerful mood rather than a gloomy one.
The painting is an oil on canvas and measures 20 x 24 inches.
Manet died on April 30, 1883, leaving behind 430 paintings and has been named one of the most in influential artists.