Both women wear fashionable billowing gowns and bonnets secured by a veil. While the artist’s mother appears to be reading a book laid down in the grass, Madam Manet gazes at the little village in the distance.
The sun has slipped behind the clouds as Madam Manet has lowered her parasol. It is clearly spring, as swallows have made an appearance, but rain is expected as the birds fly low to the ground.
The change is the weather is further emphasized by the color of the sky. The sun may have been shining when the women set out for their outing, but now dark clouds are gathering.
A few meters away, five brown cows can be seen grazing the long grasses.
In the distance appears to be a little village, made up of a few red roofed houses, a church with a black slated steeple and two windmills.
If Manet wanted to set a mood, the serenity of the two women, the contented cows, and the sleepy village are in sharp contrast with the sky. The gathering clouds obviously predict a storm is brewing.
The painting is an oil on canvas and measures 20 x 24 inches.
Edouard Manet painted 420 painting during his lifetime. He died on April 30, 1883, leaving behind a legacy of being an influential artist.