Medici Gardens: From Making to Design

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Overview

Medici Gardens: From Making to Design challenges the common assumption that such gardens as Trebbio, Cafaggiolo, Careggi, and Fiesole were the products of an established design practice whereby one client commissioned one architect or artist. The book reverses the usual belief that a garden is the practical application of theoretical principles extracted from garden treatises, and suggests that, in the case of the gardens in Florence, garden making preceded its theoretical articulation.

Drawing from Medici tax returns, inventories, and correspondence, Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto examines the transformation of these gardens from functional and pleasurable kitchen gardens to symbols of political power and family prestige. The Medici gardens of the fifteenth century were the result both of everyday living and of a poetic activity that was influenced by cultural expectations and societal demands.

Crossing disciplinary boundaries, the author compares the making of actual gardens to that of the literary pleasances described by Petrarch, Boccaccio, and Ficino. Although the fictional gardens appear "designed" in that their place within literary works is carefully thought through, their actual counterparts are the product of a modus operandi, indebted to horticultural knowledge handed down from one generation to another in a slowly evolving tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The book will be of great interest to those in the garden/landscape field and to those concerned with the period and early Renaissance architecture. Its publication will put an important tool into the hands of teachers and students of the history of landscape art."—James Ackerman, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812240726
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/7/2008
  • Series: Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto teaches landscape architecture at the University of Maryland.
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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Introduction     1
Medici Gardens     10
Trebbio and Cafaggiolo     10
Careggi     30
Fiesole     53
From Work of Nature to Work of Art     88
Writing the Garden in the Age of Humanism     99
Petrarch and Boccaccio     99
Marsilio Ficino and the Neoplatonic Pleasance     131
Practice and Theory     146
The Design of the Garden     146
The Writing of Tradition     161
Conclusion     179
Letter by Galeazzo Maria Sforza     187
Metric Letter by Alessandro Braccesi     189
Notes     195
Bibliography     275
Photographic Acknowledgments     293
Index     295
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