Saturday, May 28, 2016

17C Euro Gardens - Introduction to Dutch Baroque Gardens - Enghien



Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) Across the Reservoir to the Garden Gates at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

The famous Park of Enghien (in the Wallonian province of Henaut - to its south lies the French Nord region, within Belgium, it borders on the Flemish provinces of West Flanders, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant, & the Walloon provinces of Walloon Brabant & Namur.) dates back to the 15C, when Pierre de Luxembourg transformed the forests ajacent to his chateau into a park. Two hundred years later, in the year 1607, chateau & park were sold by the then owner Henry IV (1553-1610) to a noble family named Arenberg.


Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) An Avenue or Mall of Clipped Hedges at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

In the 15C, Pierre de Luxembourg had laid out the boundaries of a park in the forest surrounding his small castle in Enghien (Anguien), near Brussels in Belgium. By the time the estate had been acquired by the aristocratic Arenberg family, the park already contained jousting fields, a menagerie, game reserves, flower gardens, & irrigation systems.


Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) Fountain surrounded by clipped green hedges at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

A transitional Renaissance-Baroque garden at Enghien evolved during the 1620s-1650s, guided by the elaborate landscape & architectural design choices of Le Père Charles de Bruxelles (Arenberg family member & architect). They combined French & Italian influences. Elements were grouped around a French style central axis. They included formal parterres adorned with classical statuary, tree-lined avenues, an orangery, a large Italian-style viewing mound, a grand pavilion on an island surrounded by imitation bastions, an ornate sculptured fountain in the middle of a reservoir, a small terraced garden on an Italian-style artificial island, & a series of more traditional European gardens surrounded by hedged tunnels.


Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) Main Entrance to the Garden Park at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

In the British Library introduction to Dutch Baroque Gardens, the curators write, "The seventeenth century saw the greatest flowering of Dutch civilisation, not least in the field of printed maps & views. Professional artists, called afsetters, were employed to colour them. They had ideal opportunities to display their skills with these prints, some of which were engraved by...Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708). (The etched engravings were produced in about 1680, commissioned from Romeyn de Hooghe by the Amsterdam map dealer & publisher, Nicolaes Visscher II.)


Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) Pavilion at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

"The cost of employing de Hooghe & the afsetters was felt to be justified for the gardens since they too were an important aspect of Dutch baroque culture. Though inspired by French & ultimately Italian models, the Dutch took advantage of their climate & landscape to amend the foreign models. Building on their own experience of land reclamation & canal-making, they disciplined & improved on nature. They made plentiful use of water, by way of ponds, canals & moats. Using hedges, often cut into spectacular shapes, they created a series of outdoor green "rooms" or "cabinets", palaces, theatres & stage sets. Unlike the prevailing, unadorned green of Italian formal gardens, the Dutch created beds or parterres filled with the vivid colours & the beautiful scents of flowers, sometimes supplemented with coloured stones. Unlike their French counterparts, Dutch gardens fitted into their landscapes & did not dominate them.


Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) The Allees at the Grand Pavilion at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

"They made plentiful use of water, by way of ponds, canals & moats. Using hedges, often cut into spectacular shapes, they created a series of outdoor green 'rooms' or 'cabinets,' palaces, theatres & stage sets. Unlike the prevailing, unadorned green of Italian formal gardens, the Dutch created beds or parterres filled with the vivid colours & the beautiful scents of flowers, sometimes supplemented with coloured stones. Unlike their French counterparts, Dutch gardens fitted into their landscapes & did not dominate them.

Romeyn de Hooghe (Dutch artist, 1645-1708) The Flower Gardens at the Renaissance gardens at Enghien near Hainault

"The design of the gardens embraced sophisticated intellectual allegories deriving from classical legends & philosophy & they were created in accordance with the rules of architecture & logic. As well as pleasing the eyes, the gardens were also intended to appeal to the mind, their designs symbolising the earthly paradise & being intended to impart moral & philosophical lessons to the select few who understood them. Political often co-existed with philosophical symbolism, & many Dutch gardens were platforms for political propaganda that was all the more effective for being relatively subtle."


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