Heavy with vegetation not easily found in urban spaces, one might think that Rousseau travelled to an exotic locale to provide the study for this painting. In actuality, he most likely observed the botanical gardens in Paris. The “surprise” that’s referred in the title is the violent tiger lurking in the foreground, blending in with the striped flora, suggesting it might be sneaking up on something or someone.

Creator: Henri Rousseau

Date: 1891

Original Medium: Oil on canvas

Original Size: 129.8 x 161.9 cm

Location: National Gallery London