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Baroque Garden Cultures: Emulation, Sublimation, Subversion

Baroque Garden Cultures: Emulation, Sublimation, Subversion

by Michel ConanMichel Conan


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Baroque Garden Cultures: Emulation, Sublimation, Subversion proposes a new approach to the study of baroque gardens, examining the social reception of gardens as a means to understand garden culture in general and exploring baroque gardens as a feature of baroque cultures in particular. In so doing, it negotiates a turning point in garden history.

Jose Antonio Maravall determined that baroque culture grew out of the social and economic crises of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, precipitating the establishment of the state and its concomitant engines of repression and propaganda. This absolutist state deployed the arts as a political means to dazzle society into submission to the monarch. The varying degrees of state control allowed for diverse cultural and political reception of the arts to emerge and for the possibility of anti-baroque arts to develop alongside baroque ones. This possibility invites us to understand the conditions of artistic production as a preamble to aesthetic criticism and to position garden history within the framework of social history. Such an approach explores and explains the vexing differences in baroque art and landscape architecture in different countries and at different times from the end of the sixteenth century to the present. Although primarily associated with Europe, baroque culture developed elsewhere as well.

Gardens played a prominent role in the development of the European baroque, with variations due to the different political systems and social structures in place between 1580 and 1770. These countries nevertheless entertained a dense network of cultural relationships and the reception of baroque gardens can thus be studied in an international context.

This study of gardens ranging from western and northern Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to as far away as twelfth-century China shows how the study of audience reception can renew our understanding of the cultural role of gardens. Gardens have a life of their own and this book’s various chapters ponder how they might have been formative of culture in a way that completely escaped the intentions of their creators and designers. This volume also studies the changing reception of gardens long after they were designed, including the reception of historical gardens by contemporary tourists and art critics. Baroque Garden Cultures demonstrates that while baroque garden politics encouraged emulation and led to various forms of sublimation of its attempts at cultural control, it could not ultimately escape clever means of subversion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884023043
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/01/2005
Series: Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture , #25
Pages: 433
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Michel Conan is the former Director of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The New Horizons of Baroque Garden Cultures
Michel Conan

Part I: European Networks, from Emulation to Sublimation

Of Plants and Gardeners, Prints and Books: Reception and Exchange in Northern European Garden Culture 1648-1725
Erik A. de Jong

Gardens of Knowledge and the République des Gens de Sciences
Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi

Part II: Emulating the Politics of Garden Display

Pastoral Landscape and Social Politics in Baroque Rome
Tracy L. Ehrlich

The Aesthetic and Social Reception and Development of the Baroque Garden in Sweden
Magnus Olausson

Saxon Baroque Gardens (1694-1733): Nature's Entertainment Palaces
Roland Puppe

Part III: Sublimation and Subversion of Baroque Garden Politics

Islands of Delight: Shifting Perceptions of the Borromean Islands
Mergherita Azzi Visentini

Spectacle, Ritual, and Social Relations: The Son of Heaven, Citizens, and Created Space in Imperial Gardens in the Northern Song
Stephen H. West

Friendship and Imagination in French Baroque Gardens before 1661
Michel Conan

Polity and Politeness at Castle Howard: Awed and Angry Visitors in a Baroque Landscape Architecture
Lance Neckar



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