Music in the Tuileries Edouard Manet Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Music in the Tuileries is the 1862 oil painting by Édouard Manet. The painting is of fashionable well-off Parisians enjoying their time laughing, socialising and listening to music in the Tuileries Gardens which are situated between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

The Tuileries Gardens or Jardin de la Tuileries in French, was a popular location for people of high society to attend in order to idle away time in the 19th Century. The painting itself is of a large number of people in the Gardens. A large amount of these people in the background are simply brush strokes with no clear defintion, however there are a selection of individuals in the foreground who are painting with clear details and who represent who Édouard Manet felt were important in the garden.

Included in the people in the foreground are key members of society life in Paris in the 19th Century which include Édouard Manet himself. Édouard Manet stands at the edge of the painting, in a strange form of limbo. He clearly feels he should be included as a member of this class society, however due to his position on the canvas, it feels like Édouard Manet is reflecting on his position to view this group of people from outside the group as well, which must have created conflict for Édouard Manet. The conflict caused by who was present in the painting including friends of the artist.

Music in the Tuileries is an important painting as previously alluded to, however this goes well above just showing the viewer what life was like in 19th Century Paris. However, while it give us evidence of social history in Paris, it also helped to establish the Impressionist movement of Painting. Influenced by Hals, Velázquez and Goya this painting is seen as starting the precursor to the Impressionist movement of painting where colour takes importance over drawing.

Impressionists paint a moment in time, not from is necessarily actually present, but from their point of view. An example of this is the music in the garden. During that period it was common for music to be played by musicians in the garden, a point alluded to in the title of the painting itself, however no musicians can be seen in the painting, which demonstrates the nature of impressionism. Édouard Manet was more focused on the people who he felt were important than on the crowds. The crowds in the background are painted with heavy brush strokes with no detail, as Édouard Manet was not interested in producing a bland image of the garden, but create an image which would represent how he viewed the social interactions of society.

As well as being a representation of what Édouard Manet viewed, it is also a clear change in direction from his previous work such as The Grand Canal of Venice. Music in the Tuileries is a lot darker than The Grand Canal of Venice, in The Grand Canal of Venice the colours are lighter and somehow feel more alive than the dull dark imagery of real 19th Century life.

Music in the Tuileries also opens a door an insight of the mind and of Édouard Manet, while this appears to be non-relevant, it becomes relevant due to his influence on other artists such as Renoir, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. Music in the Tuileries is also a change in the way that Édouard Manet sought to express his interest in the real world, Édouard Manet travelled looking for opportunities to bring life into his painting and to capture the feel of the real world through disorganised art and a seemingly ambiguous nature of the use of colour.