Tuesday, June 21, 2016

16C Garden Background - Foreground - Scantily dressed Allegory for the Sense of Smell

Crispin de Passe (1565-1637), Allegory of The Five Senses - Smell.  Here a Woman in a garden explores the smells around her, including flowers & her 2 dogs.  Geometric garden beds can be seen just below her perch on the hill.

Allegorical stories & art are often set in garden suroundings, frequently in or near walled gardens like the print above. The locus amoenus was one of the traditional locations of epic & chivalric literature. Locus amoenus (Latin for "pleasant place") is a literary term which generally referring to an idealized place of safety or comfort, sometimes beautiful, shady parklands or open woods, or at other times, to a group of idyllic garden areas, sometimes with connotations of Eden. A locus amoenus usually has 3 basic elements: trees, grass, & water. 

Dutch garden was the description given to a particular type of rectangular garden space, often enclosed within hedges or walls, even if part of a larger garden or parkland. The garden in this print is enclosed with hedges. The space surrounded by these hedges appears to be laid out in a highly cultivated & geometrical & perhaps symmetrical, fashion, shaped by dense plantings of flowers, & edged with dense & clipped shrubs, sometimes in geometrical patterns. 

The garden in the back of this print has trellised wooden arbors. Trellis arbors ensured privacy & provided shade while attracting birds to fill the air with bird-songs.  Grapes, roses & rosemary in particular were grown over trellises; gilliflowers (carnations, pinks) were trellised in their pots to keep them from falling over. Other types of local flowering vines were also grown that way. Lattices with climbing plants & trellises with climbing plants were used as garden walls, often starting from the back of a turfed bed or seat, & also for arches & pergolas.