Book number: 92012 Product format: Hardback Author: BRYAN KEENE

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Bibliophile price £4.75
Published price £14.99

A rare import from the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, where the author is a curatorial assistant and an instructor in art history. His research interests include Italian and French manuscript illumination as well as the history of gardens, botany, and pharmacopeia in early modern Europe. Planted by hand for the delight of kings and lieutenants, the book celebrates the Renaissance garden which inherited the traditions established by the medieval monastic cloister and provided the foundation for the extravagant gardens of the Baroque period such as Louis XIV's renowned Versailles. The volume gathers a wide range of objects from the Getty's permanent collection between 1400 and 1600, with a focus primarily on the art of Renaissance book illumination. Vines twist and wind through page borders, the Virgin Mary seeks tranquillity amid flowers and blossoms, exotic specimens from faraway lands are delineated in detail, and members of the nobility wander through plantings, admiring their possessions. These images enable an exploration of the varied aesthetic, religious, scientific and economic meanings that gardens held in the Renaissance era. Whether connected to grandiose villas or common kitchens, they were planted and treasured in all reaches of society. Due to their ephemeral nature, most gardens have changed or been lost since the Renaissance, but this gorgeously illustrated volume allows us to appreciate gardens on many levels from the literary Garden of Love and the biblical Garden of Eden to courtly gardens of the nobility, and reveals the many activities both reputable and scandalous that took place inside. In one a man stands near a bunch of flowers called speedwell, while the woman grasps a daisy in her right hand. Around the margin are red roses, periwinkles, white and purple phlox and red currants. There are spectacular stage designs featuring grottoes, pergolas and mythological figures, the flowers and their associations and an explanation of the central axis and beds of herbs and flowers arranged in geometric patterns with a combination of sculptures, fountains and topiaries and the Renaissance ideal that art and nature are in a constant back-and-forth duel of imitating each other. 78 glossy pages, colour illus. throughout.

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ISBN 9781606061435

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