Friday, January 1, 2021

A Very Practical Approach (including a Plant List & Cleanliness)! Charlemagne's (742-814) Rules for Gardening & Farming

The Capitulare de Villis - On Gardening & Farming

Charlemagne (Charles I, Carolus Magnus, Charles the Great) (742-814) was King of the Franks from 768 until his death. He expanded small Frankish kingdoms into an Empire that covered much of Western & Central Europe. 
Charlemagne BLMedieval Egerton 3028 f. 83v c
He conquered Italy & was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800, as a rival of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople. Charles I, was the 1st Holy Roman Emperor, & the 1st emperor in western Europe, since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire 3 centuries earlier. Under his influence, society, art, culture, gardening, religion, & farming underwent a Renaissance.
Pope Leo III crowning Charlemagne emperor, miniature in the Grandes Chroniques de France, manuscript illuminated by Jean Fouquet, 1460 in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (MS. fr. 6465).

Charlemagne (742-812) experimented with plants in his own garden & oversaw plantings on his royal estates. He issued imperial edicts, or capitularies, to guide civil, military, & ecclesiastical affairs. The Capitulare des Villis specified a list of plants to be grown on royal estates, as well as farming guidelines. 
Charlemagne receiving the oath of fidelity and homage from a baron, coloured engraving after a 14th-century manuscript miniature.

The Capitulare de Villis - On Gardening & Farming

This document dates to the end of the 8C & survives in a manuscript of near contemporary date. It describes, in an idealized form, the management of royal estates. The terminology & types of plant listed suggest that it describes estates in Aquitaine (i.e. western France, south of the Loire) which in the late 8C was ruled by Charlemagne's son Louis, later the Emperor Louis the Pious. 
Pope Leo III crowning Charlemagne emperor on Christmas Day, 800 from Chroniques de France ou de Saint-Denis, vol. 1, second quarter of the 14th century.

Whether the text was created under Louis' instruction or his father's is not known. Louis I (778-840), or Louis the Pious, was king of the Franks & emperor of the West from 814 to 840. This document provides a unique insight into the social & economic worlds of the landed & the peasants. 
Charlemagne & his son Louis Grandes Chroniques de France, France, Paris (BnF Français 73, fol. 128v) 

Charlemagne's Edicts On Gardening & Farming

8. That our stewards shall take charge of our vineyards in their districts, & see that they are properly worked; & let them put the wine into good vessels, & take particular care that no loss is incurred in shipping it. They are to have purchased other, more special, wine to supply the royal estates. And if they should buy more of this wine than is necessary for supplying our estates they should inform us of this, so that we can tell them what we wish to be done with it. They shall also have slips from our vineyards sent for our use. Such rents from our estates as are paid in wine they shall send to our cellars.

13. That they shall take good care of the stallions, & under no circumstances allow them to stay for long in the same pasture, lest it should be spoiled. And if any of them is unhealthy, or too old, or is likely to die, the stewards are to see that we are informed at the proper time, before the season comes for sending them in among the mares.

14. That they shall look after our mares well, & segregate the colts at the proper time. And if the fillies increase in number, let them be separated so that they can form a new herd by themselves.

15. That they shall take care to have our foals sent to the winter palace at the feast of St Martin.

17. A steward shall appoint as many men as he has estates in his district, whose task it will be to keep bees for our use.

18. At our mills they are to keep chickens & geese, according to the mill's importance—or as many as is possible.

19. In the barns on our chief estates they are to keep not less than 100 chickens & not less than 30 geese. At the smaller farms they are to keep not less than 50 chickens & not less than 12 geese.

20. Every steward is to see that the produce is brought to the court in plentiful supply throughout the year; also, let them make their visitations for this purpose at least three or four times.

21. Every steward is to keep fishponds on our estates where they have existed in the past, & if possible he is to enlarge them. They are also to be established in places where they have not so far existed but where they are now practicable.

22. Those who have vines shall keep not less than three or four crowns of grapes.

23. On each of our estates the stewards are to have as many byres, pigsties, sheepfolds & goat-pens as possible, & under no circumstances arc they to be without them. They are also to have cows provided by our serfs for the performance of their service, so that the byres & plough-teams are in no way weakened by service on our demesne. And when they have to provide meat, let them have lame but healthy oxen, cows or horses which are not mangy, & other healthy animals; &, as we have said, our byres & plough-teams must not suffer as a result of this.
Pope Leo III crowning Charlemagne emperor, December 25, 800

24. Every steward is to take pains over anything he has to provide for our table, so that everything he gives is good & of the best quality, & as carefully & cleanly prepared as possible. And each of them, when he comes to serve at our table, is to have corn for two meals a day for his service; & any other provisions, whether in flour or in meat, are similarly to be of good quality.

25. They are to report on the first of September whether or not there will be food for the pigs.

32. That every steward shall make it his business always to have good seed of the best quality, whether bought or otherwise acquired.

34. They are to take particular care that anything which they do or make with their hands—that is, lard, smoked meat, sausage, newly-salted meat, wine, vinegar, mulberry wine, boiled wine, garum, mustard, cheese, butter, malt, beer, mead, honey, wax & flour—that all these are made or prepared with the greatest attention to cleanliness.

35. It is our wish that tallow shall be made from fat sheep & also from pigs; in addition, they are to keep on each estate not less than two fattened oxen, which can either be used for making tallow there or can be sent to us.

36. That our woods & forests shall be well protected; if there is an area to be cleared, the stewards are to have it cleared, & shall not allow fields to become overgrown with woodland. Where woods are supposed to exist they shall not allow them to be excessively cut & damaged. Inside the forests they are to take good care of our game; likewise, they shall keep our hawks & falcons in readiness for our use, & shall diligently collect our dues there. And the stewards, or our mayors or their men, if they send their pigs into our woods to be fattened, shall be the first to pay the tithe for this, so as to set a good example & encourage other men to pay their tithe in full in the future.

Albrecht Durer (1471-1548) Charlemagne - Holy Roman Emperor (742-812) called 'The Father of Europe.' Detail.

37. That they shall keep our fields & arable land in good order, & shall guard our meadows at the appropriate time.

38. That they shall always keep fattened geese & chickens sufficient for our use if needed, or for sending to us.

39. It is our wish that the stewards shall be responsible for collecting the chickens & eggs which the serfs & manse-holders contribute each year; & when they are not able to use them they are to sell them.

40. That every steward, on each of our estates, shall always have swans, peacocks, pheasants, ducks, pigeons, partridges & turtle doves, for the sake of ornament.

44. Two thirds of the Lenten food shall be sent each year for our use — that is, of the vegetables, fish, cheese, butter, honey, mustard, vinegar, millet, panic, dry or green herbs, radishes, turnips, & wax or soap & other small items; & as we have said earlier, they are to inform us by letter of what is left over, & shall under no circumstances omit to do this, as they have done in the past, because it is through those two thirds that we wish to know about the one third that remains.

45. That every steward shall have in his district good workmen — that is, blacksmiths, gold- & silver-smiths, shoemakers, turners, carpenters, shield-makers, fishermen, falconers, soap-makers, brewers (that is, people who know how to make beer, cider, perry or any other suitable beverage), bakers to make bread for our use, net-makers who can make good nets for hunting or fishing or fowling, & all the other workmen too numerous to mention.

46. That the stewards shall take good care of our walled parks, which the people call brogili, & always repair them in good time, & not delay so long that it becomes necessary to rebuild them completely. This should apply to all buildings.

47. That our hunters & falconers, & the other servants who are in permanent attendance on us at the palace, shall throughout our estates be given such assistance as we or the queen may command in our letters, on occasions when we send them out on an errand or when the seneschal or butler gives them some task to do in our name.

48. That the wine-presses on our estates shall be kept in good order. And the stewards are to see to it that no one dares to crush the grapes with his feet, but that everything is clean & different.

58. When our puppies are entrusted to the stewards they are to feed them at their own expense, or else entrust them to their subordinates, that is, the mayors & deans, or cellarers, so that they in their turn can feed them from their own resources—unless there should be an order from ourselves or the queen that they arc to be fed on our estate at our own expense. In this case the steward is to send a man to them, to see to their feeding, & is to set aside food for them; & there will be no need for the man to go to the kennels every day.

62. That each steward shall make an annual statement of all our income, from the oxen which our ploughmen keep, from the holdings which owe ploughing services, from the pigs, from rents, judgement-fees & fines, from the fines for taking game in our forests without our permission & from the various other payments; from the mills, forests, fields, bridges & ships; from the free men & the hundreds which are attached to our fisc; from the markets; from the vineyards, & those who pay their dues in wine; from hay, firewood & torches, from planks & other timber; from waste land; from vegetables, millet & panic; from wool, linen & hemp; from the fruits of trees; from larger & smaller nuts; from the graftings of various trees; from gardens, turnips, fishponds; from hides, skins & horns; from honey & wax; from oil, tallow & soap; from mulberry wine, boiled wine, mead & vinegar; from beer & from new & old wine; from new & old grain; from chickens & eggs & geese; from the fishermen, smiths, shield-makers & cobblers; from kneading troughs, bins or boxes; from the turners & saddlers; from forges & from mines, that is, from iron- or lead-workings & from workings of any other kind; from people paying tribute; & from colts & fillies. All these things they shall set out in order under separate headings, & shall send the information to us at Christmas time, so that we may know the character & amount of our income from the various sources.

65. That the fish from our fishponds shall be sold, & others put in their place, so that there is always a supply of fish; however, when we do not visit the estates they are to be sold, & our stewards are to get a profit from them for our benefit.

66. They are to give an account to us of the male & female goats, & of their horns & skins; & each year they are to bring to us the newly-salted meat of the fattened goats.

70. It is our wish that they shall have in their gardens all kinds of plants: lily, roses, fenugreek, costmary, sage, rue, southernwood, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, kidney-bean, cumin, rosemary, caraway, chick-pea, squill, gladiolus, tarragon, anise, colocynth, chicory, ammi, sesili, lettuces, spider's foot, rocket salad, garden cress, burdock, penny-royal, hemlock, parsley, celery, lovage, juniper, dill, sweet fennel, endive, dittany, white mustard, summer savory, water mint, garden mint, wild mint, tansy, catnip, centaury, garden poppy, beets, hazelwort, marshmallows, mallows, carrots, parsnip, orach, spinach, kohlrabi, cabbages, onions, chives, leeks, radishes, shallots, cibols, garlic, madder, teazles, broad beans, peas, coriander, chervil, capers, clary. And the gardener shall have house-leeks growing on his house. As for trees, it is our wish that they shall have various kinds of apple, pear, plum, sorb, medlar, chestnut & peach; quince, hazel, almond, mulberry, laurel, pine, fig, nut & cherry trees of various kinds. The names of apples are: gozmaringa, geroldinga, crevedella, spirauca; there are sweet ones, bitter ones, those that keep well, those that are to be eaten straightaway, & early ones. Of pears they are to have three or four kinds, those that keep well, sweet ones, cooking pears & the late-ripening ones.
 Charlemagne by Caspar Johann Nepomuk Scheuren (1810-1887)

See:
Manuscript: The extant copy of the Capitulare de Villis survives in Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Guelf. 254 Helmst. (fols 12v-16r) which dates to c. 800. Translation: H.R. Loyn & J. Percival, The Reign of Charlemagne. Documents on Carolingian Government & Administration Documents of Medieval History 2 (London 1975) pp. 64-73. 

A Bit of Landscape History - Pliny The Younger's Letter on the Laurentian Villa (1st century)


Pliny, Letter on the Laurentian Villa (1st century)

Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – ca. 112), better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him.  Pliny the Elder, a writer who produced the sometimes shakey 37 volume Natural History. The younger Pliny is best known as the author of the 9 volume Epistularium, a collection of elegantly written letters that convey a wealth of information about social, literary, political, and domestic life in 1st-century Rome.  Pliny owned a country place in Tuscany as well as the villa at Laurentinum. Two of his letters describe these villas noting that the Laurentine villa was not far from Ostia, a busy Roman seaport at the mouth of the Tiber through which grain and other commodities from all over the empire made their way to the imperial capital.

XXIII To Gallus (Description of his Laurentian Villa)

You are surprised that I am so fond of my Laurentine, or (if you prefer the name) my Laurens: but you will cease to wonder when I acquaint you with the beauty of the villa, the advantages of its situation, and the extensive view of the sea-coast. It is only seventeen miles from Rome: so that when I have finished my business in town, I can pass my evenings here after a good satisfactory day’s work. There are two different roads to it: if you go by that of Laurentum, you must turn off at the fourteenth mile-stone; if by Astia, at the eleventh. Both of them are sandy in places, which makes it a little heavier and longer by carriage, but short and easy on horseback. The landscape affords plenty of variety, the view in some places being closed in by woods, in others extending over broad meadows, where numerous flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, which the severity of the winter has driven from the mountains, fatten in the spring warmth, and on the rich pasturage. My villa is of a convenient size without being expensive to keep up. The courtyard in front is plain, but not mean, through which you enter porticoes shaped into the form of the letter D, enclosing a small but cheerful area between. These make a capital retreat for bad weather, not only as they are shut in with windows, but particularly as they are sheltered by a projection of the roof. From the middle of these porticoes you pass into a bright pleasant inner court, and out of that into a handsome hall running out towards the sea-shore; so that when there is a south-west breeze, it is gently washed with the waves, which spend themselves at its base. On every side of this hall there are either folding-doors or windows equally large, by which means you have a view from the front and the two sides of three different seas, as it were: from the back you see the middle court, the portico, and the area; and from another point you look through the portico into the courtyard, and out upon the woods and distant mountains beyond. On the left hand of this hail, a little farther from the sea, lies a large drawing-room, and beyond that, a second of a smaller size, which has one window to the rising and another to the setting sun: this as well has a view of the sea, but more distant and agreeable. The angle formed by the projection of the dining-room with this drawing-room retains and intensifies the warmth of the sun, and this forms our winter quarters and family gymnasium, which is sheltered from all the winds except those which bring on clouds, but the clear sky comes out again before the warmth has gone out of the place. Adjoining this angle is a room forming the segment of a circle, the windows of which are so arranged as to get the sun all through the day: in the walls are contrived a sort of cases, containing a collection of authors who can never be read too often. Next to this is a bed-room, connected with it by a raised passage furnished with pipes, which supply, at a wholesome temperature, and distribute to all parts of this room, the heat they receive. The rest of this side of the house is appropriated to the use of my slaves and freedmen; but most of the rooms in it are respectable enough to put my guests into. In the opposite wing is a most elegant, tastefully fitted up bed-room; next to which lies another, which you may call either a large bed-room or a modified dining-room; it is very warm and light, not only from the direct rays of the sun, but by their reflection from the sea. Beyond this is a bed-room with an ante-room, the height of which renders it cool in summer, its thick walls warm in winter, for it is sheltered, every way from the winds. To this apartment another anteroom is joined by one common wall. From thence you enter into the wide and spacious cooling-room belonging to the bath, from the opposite walls of which two curved basins are thrown out, so to speak; which are more than large enough if you consider that the sea is close at hand. Adjacent to this is the anointing-room, then the sweating-room, and beyon" that the bath-heating room: adjoining are two other little bath-rooms, elegantly rather than sumptuously fitted up: annexed to them is a warm bath of wonderful construction, in which one can swim and take a view of the sea at the same time. Not far from this stands the tennis-court, which lies open to the warmth of the afternoon sun. From thence you go up a sort of turret which has two rooms below, with the same number above, besides a dining-room commanding a very extensive look-out on to the sea, the coast, and the beautiful villas scattered along the shore line. At the other end is a second turret, containing a room that gets the rising and setting sun. Behind this is a large store-room and granary, and underneath, a spacious dining-room, where only the murmur and break of the sea can be heard, even in a storm: it looks out upon the garden, and the gestatio, running round the garden. The gestatio is bordered round with box, and, where that is decayed, with rosemary: for the box, wherever sheltered by the buildings, grows plentifully, but where it lies open and exposed to the weather and spray from the sea, though at some distance from the latter, it quite withers up. Next the gestatio, and running along inside it, is a shady vine plantation, the path of which is so soft and easy to the tread that you may walk barefoot upon it. The garden is chiefly planted with fig and mulberry trees, to which this soil is as favorable as it is averse from all others. Here is a dining-room, which, though it stands away from the sea enjoys the garden view which is just as pleasant: two apartments run round the back part of it, the windows of which look out upon the entrance of the villa, and into a fine kitchen-garden. From here extends an enclosed portico which, from its great length, you might take for a public one. It has a range of windows on either side, but more on the side facing the sea, and fewer on the garden side, and these, single windows and alternate with the opposite rows. In calm, clear, weather these are all thrown open; hut if it blows, those on the weather side are closed, whilst those away from the wind can remain open without any inconvenience. Before this enclosed portico lies a terrace fragrant with the scent of violets, and warmed by the reflection of the sun from the portico, which, while it retains the rays, keeps away the north-east wind; and it is as warm on this side as it is cool on the side opposite: in the same way it is a protection against the wind from the south-west; and thus, in short, by means of its several sides, breaks the force of the winds, from whatever quarter they may blow. These are some of its winter advantages, they are still more appreciable in the summer time; for at that season it throws a shade upon the terrace during the whole of the forenoon, and upon the adjoining portion of the gestatio and garden in the afternoon, casting a greater or less shade on this side or on that as the day increases or decreases. But the portico itself is coolest just at the time when the sun is at its hottest, that is, when the rays fall directly upon the roof. Also, by opening the windows you let in the western breezes in a free current, which prevents the place getting oppressive with close and stagnant air. At the upper end of the terrace and portico stands a detached garden building, which I call my favorite; my favouite indeed, as I put it up myself. It contains a very warm winter-room, one side of which looks down upon the terrace, while the other has a view of the sea, and both lie exposed to the sun. The bed-room opens on to the covered portico by means of folding-doors, while its window looks out upon the sea. On that side next the sea, and facing the middle wall, is formed a very elegant little recess, which, by means of transparent windows, and a curtain drawn to or aside, can be made part of the adjoining room, or separated from it. It contains a couch and two chairs: as you lie upon this couch, from where your feet are you get a peep of the sea; looking behind you see the neighboring villas, and from the head you have a view of the woods: these three views may be seen either separately, from so many different windows, or blended together in one. Adjoining this is a bed-room, which neither the servants’ voices, the murmuring of the sea, the glare of lightning, nor daylight itself can penetrate, unless you open the windows. This profound tranquility and seclusion are occasioned by a passage separating the wall of this room from that of the garden, and thus, by means of this intervening space, every noise is drowned. Annexed to this is a tiny stove-room, which, by opening or shutting a little aperture, lets out or retains the heat from underneath, according as you require. Beyond this lie a bed-room and ante-room, which enjoy the sun, though obliquely indeed, from the time it rises, till the afternoon. When I retire to this garden summer-house, I fancy myself a hundred miles away from my villa, and take especial pleasure in it at the feast of the Saturnalia, when, by the license of that festive season, every other part of my house resounds with my servants’ mirth: thus I neither interrupt their amusement nor they my studies. Amongst the pleasures and conveniences of this situation, there is one drawback, and that is, the want of running water; but then there are wells about the place, or rather springs, for they lie close to the surface. And, altogether, the quality of this coast is remarkable; for dig where you may, you meet, upon the first turning up of the ground, with a spring of water, quite pure, not in the least salt, although so near the sea. The neighboring woods supply us with all the fuel we require, the other necessaries Ostia furnishes. Indeed, to a moderate man, even the village (between which and my house there is only one villa) would supply all ordinary requirements. It has three public baths, which are a great convenience if it happen that friends come in unexpectedly, or make too short a stay to allow time in preparing my own. The whole coast is very pleasantly sprinkled with villas either in rows or detached, which whether looking at them from the sea or the shore, present the appearance of so many different cities. The strand is, sometimes, after a long calm, perfectly smooth, though, in general,t hrough the storms driving the waves upon it, it is rough and uneven. I cannot boast that our sea is plentiful in choice fish; however, it supplies us with capital soles and prawns; but as to other kinds of provisions, my villa aspires to excel even inland countries, particularly in milk: for the cattle come up there from the meadows in large numbers, in pursuit of water and shade. Tell me, now, have I not good reason for living in, staying in, loving, such a retreat, which, if you feel no appetite for, you must be morbidly attached to town? And I only wish you would feel inclined to come down to it, that to so many charms with which my little villa abounds, it might have the very considerable addition of your company to recommend it. Farewell.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

17C Formal Garden - Locus amoenus

Wenceslaus Hollar (Czech artist, 1607-1677)  Spring

Allegorical characters, such as "Spring" above, in stories & in art are often located in garden settings, frequently in or near walled gardens such as the one depicted here. The locus amoenus was one of the traditional locations of epic & chivalric literature. As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose & verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of Medieval & Early Modern Europe.  Locus amoenus (Latin for "pleasant place") is a literary term which generally refering to an idealized place of safety or comfort, usually a beautiful, shady parkland or open woods, or a group of idyllic garden areas, sometimes with connotations of Eden. A locus amoenus usually has 3 basic elements: trees, grass, & water. Often, the locus amoenus garden will be in a remote place & with only components of a more formal, geometric, walled garden. 

The artist Wenceslaus Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. Very little is known about his early life, but he evidently learned the rudiments of his craft by age eighteen, left his native Prague at age twenty, and likely studied in Frankfurt under Matthaus Merian. His first book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne when Hollar was twenty-eight. The following year he came to the attention of the renowned art collector the Earl of Arundel who was making an official visit to the continent, and Hollar subsequently became a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. He remained in England during the beginning of the English Civil War period, but left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects. In 1652 he returned to England, working on a number of large projects for the publisher John Ogilby and for the antiquary Sir William Dugdale. Hollar was in London during the Great Fire of 1666, and remains most famous for his scenes of the city before and after the fire. He was one of the most skilled etchers of his or any other time, which is all the more remarkable given that he was almost blind in one eye. Hollar died in London on 25 March 1677. By his life's end, he had produced some 2700 separate etchings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

17C Garden Fountains & Search for Proper Wife

1661 Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, 1637 - 1671. Became The First wife of James VII and II.

By the 17C & 18C, artists portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain.In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."

Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nourish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain. Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls. He could not only interpret nature, he could control it. And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned suggest that his young lady might be sexually appealing for the right marriage partner.

Monday, August 10, 2020

17C Garden 1609

1609 Month of April Print made by Adriaen Collaert After Jacques Callot After Joos de Momper  

Friday, August 7, 2020

17C Discovering a Garden in a Painting Background - 1640 Minerva

 1640 Louis Ferdinand Elle the Elder (French artist, 1612-1689) Anne Marie Louise d'Orleans Grande Mademoiselle as Minerva

Thursday, August 6, 2020

17C Discovering a Garden in a Painting Background

Anonymous Artist - Spring with Flowers & a Garden in the Background. Madrid, Museo del Prado. 1601-1650

Spring & "springtime" refer to the ecological, environmental season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection & regrowth.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

17C Garden Fountains & Search for Proper Wife Blonde or Brunette

1664 Nicolaes Maes (Dutch artist, 1634-1693) Young Lady by a Fountain
Nicolaes Maes (Dutch artist, 1634-1693) Young Lady by a Fountain (For those who did not like a blond, serious sitter, Maes apparently painted this more cheerful brunette.)

By the 17C & 18C, artists portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain. In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."

Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nurish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain.  Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls.  He could not only interpret nature, he could control it.  And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned suggest that his young lady might be sexually available for the right marriage partner.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

17C Garden Fountains & Search for Proper Wife

Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Egerton (1653-1709)

By the 17C & 18C, artists portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain.  In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."

Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nourish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain.  Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls.  He could not only interpret nature, he could control it.  And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned suggest that his young lady might be sexually appealing for the right marriage partner. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

17C Garden 1610

1610 Twelve months  Jacques Callot (Print made by) Adriaen Collaert (After) Joos de Momper (After) 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

17C Garden Fountains & Search for Proper Wife

Style of Caspar Netscher (Dutch artist, 1639-1684) Portrait of a Young Lady at a Fountain

By the 17C & 18C, artists portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain.In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."

Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nurish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain. Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls. He could not only interpret nature, he could control it. And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned suggest that his young lady was becoming sexually available for the right marriage partner.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

17C Garden Fountains & Search for Proper Wife

Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Unknown Lady at Fountain

By the 17C & 18C, artists portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain.In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."

Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nourish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain. Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls. He could not only interpret nature, he could control it. And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned suggest that his young lady might be sexually appealing for the right marriage partner.

Friday, July 31, 2020

17C Garden Fountains & Search for Proper Wife

Nicolaes Maes (Dutch artist, 1634-1693) Young Lady by a Fountain

By the 17C & 18C, artists portrayed women & girls, often the eligible daughters of the patrons commissioning the portraits, near a fountain.In these fountain settings, the young lady is often depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. At the center of Arcady is the Garden of Love, where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain. The young lady places her hand in the flowing water...this is a motif much used by Van Dyke & Lely & it makes an allusion to her potential as a wife & mother, recalling Proverbs, Chapter 5, Verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, & rejoice in the wife of thy youth."

Garden fountains were originally purely functional, connected to natural springs or aqueducts & used to provide water for drinking; water for bathing & washing; & water to nourish growing plants. The painting would announce to the viewer that the parent/patron had enough money, taste, & technological expertise to channel the water through an artistic garden fountain. Water was now not just a necessary component of nature, the garden planner could make it an integral component of art both outdoors in his garden & indoors in the paintings on his walls. He could not only interpret nature, he could control it. And in this painting, he could announce his "natural" superiority, & might chose to have the portrait he has commissioned suggest that his young lady might be sexually appealing for the right marriage partner.