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Édouard Manet’s 1879 oil painting In the Conservatory depicts a pleasant scene, a moment in the life of two fairly attractive and fashionable, middle-aged people – who are most likely a married couple, judging from the intimate proximity of their hands and by the artist’s inclusion of their wedding rings – who rest in a brightly lit conservatory.
The background of the painting, rectangular in nature, shows an overgrowing mixture of green, exotic plants, only some of which in the foreground are rooted in pots. In various instances, scattered in the overgrowing mass of plants are a few pink- and orange-colored flowers, with a small bundling of flowers mostly present on the left of the image, which altogether is upliftingly and vibrantly colored in nature. The floor, though barely visible through the vertical lines of the bench, is light grey, similar to the color of sidewalk concrete.
In the middle of the painting’s foreground, the woman sits on the far left (stage-left) of the forward-facing, dark-blue bench, which is only partially shown; rather than sitting forward on the bench, she sits on it diagonally, erect, facing her left, the overflow of her long-sleeved, grey dress (with black buttons) resting on the bench. It is a long dress, cascading well past her knees and shins. The end of each sleeve is ruffled in a white, cotton-like fabric.
On her lap her right hand holds, with a yellow, mustard-colored glove, an umbrella of a lighter yellow. Her left arm rests on the top edge of the bench, bent at the elbow, her empty hand dangling just inches from her male counterpart, whose hands also rest on the bench. Around her hips is a belt nearly the same exact color of the bench itself, and on her head is a yellow, feathered bonnet tied delicately under her neck. Just below it is a black bow tied loosely and dangling on her upper chest or her clavicle. To her right is half of a fairly large, blue flowerpot (Manet did not include the entire pot, only half of it), which appears to be ceramic in nature.
Her skin is light pink, her lips are reddened with lipstick, her cheeks speckled with a touch of red blush; her curly hair seems to be tied and mostly hidden in a bun under her bonnet, with several strands protruding onto her forehead. Her emotionless face implies a detached state of mind.
She is angled toward her husband, who is to her left, though not exactly facing him, but starring off to the right of the scene. Pensively, he faces her, who is at his right, his eyes fixed on her delicate hands, on quite possibly her wedding ring. He stands behind the bench, in a long, dark-black overcoat, his right leg crossing his left, his pants are light-green; he is leaning on the bench’s top edge, putting most of his upper-body weight on his left arm. He wears a full and thick, brown beard, and his dark curly hair recedes just a little on his head. The finger of the left arm on which he leans is pointing to her left hand just an inch or two from his, the one bearing her wedding ring, and his right arm appears also to be leaning on the top edge of the bench, behind his left arm.
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