More than the beauty


Who could have thought that the horticultural art, the 'innocent' images of garden and plants, can be a propaganda of power and status. For the monarchies in Europe of the 15th and 16th centuries this new artform became the sign of the social standing and leadership. The notion that a splendid garden could enhance the status had been spread by a book Ruralia Commoda by a retired Italian lawyer Petrus de Crescentiis. Suddenly, the power struggles played out on the battlefields were also seen in the horticultural 'battle' between European rulers! Astonishing gardens were build and numerous paintings and 'flower books' commissioned to spread the horticultural allure. There was no end to the ingenuity and creativity of the garden-makers: garden-fountains, cut out turf designs, coloured gravel, and exotic plants to name just a few innovations. Surprisingly, the horticultural art reveals us far more than the momentary beauty. It tells us, in the most delightful way, about our creativity and the approach to life.





Unnamed Tulip, c 1650-82

Alexander Marshal



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