Property: Gardens: A Roman Conquest

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), October 30, 2005 | Go to article overview

Property: Gardens: A Roman Conquest


Byline: BY TOBY MUSGRAVE

WITH the torrential rainfall and gale force winds keeping all but the hardy - and foolhardy - out of the garden, I've been reflecting on how the past has influenced the present.

These days we tend to think of the Italian Renaissance Garden only in terms of beautiful statuary, fantastic waterworks and large evergreen trees but that's far from the whole story.

It's generally accepted that the Renaissance began in Italy in the 15th century, then spread northwards and across Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It saw the emergence of a new set of artistic values sparked by a rediscovery of the beauty of life and an inventiveness that looked to the present and the future.

This manifested itself in extraordinary developments in the arts, sciences, global exploration, and - the garden.

Central to the new thinking was the relationship between God, Nature and Man.

At the top of the tree was God, who had created Man and Nature. Man perceived the natural world in terms of its usefulness to his needs with plants and animals providing medicine, food and clothing.

But at the same time Nature was regarded as part of the divinely created cosmos so to understand Nature was to further understand God.

It was in the new gardens created by garden designers, sculptors and engineers that it all came together. …

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