Music in the Tuileries Gardens
Today is the birthday of the French modernist painter Édouard Manet (“Mah-nay”). His painting, 'Music in the Tuileries Gardens,' ("TWEE-luh-Reehs"), was his first significant work depicting modern city life.
Manet grew peonies in his garden at Gennevilliers (“Jen-vill-EE-aye”). They were reportedly his favorite flower. Manet’s paintings of peonies were the perfect marriage of his skill and the subject. Manet’s loose brushwork was perfect for the petals and leaves.
When the explorer Marco Polo saw peonies for the first time, he wrote that they were, “Roses as big as cabbages." In Chinese, the peony is known as the sho-yu, which means “most beautiful.” Traditionally, peonies are used to celebrate the 12th wedding anniversary. If you planted one on your Anniversary, the peony could outlive you. Peonies can live for over 100 years.