Book Title: From Art To Science. Experiencing Nature in the European Garden 1500-1700
Author: Chris (Simpsons Artist)
Since ancient times, gardens have been a special place of inspiration for both artistic creativity and study of nature. In sixteenth-century Europe, the garden evolved into a playing field for direct experimentation. Nature was experienced as a source of delight but also viewed as an object of study by amateurs and natural philosophers. This ambivalence incited the development of new and original art forms, in which naturalistic representation acquired an epistemological function, and became as such an integral part of the scientific process.
Thus, the distinction between art and science, subtle as it was in the Renaissance, tended to fade away completely in gardens. Artists used the emerging botanical or zoological gardens to the benefit of their own training, and the images of flora and fauna they created for educated collectors or botanical treatises were appreciated for their aesthetic qualities as well as for their naturalism. The fashion for rustic grottoes mirrored artistically the ongoing heated debate over the formation of matter; and fountains, displays and waterworks in their turn sparked the study of hydraulics.
The essays collected in this volume show the state of the art in regards to this topic and explore the dialectic of the interrelationship between the study of nature and the design of gardens.