Landscape as Art
Is a garden Art? Can we analyze an historic garden in the same way that we do a painting or building? In spite of the fact that gardens are the most fugitive of art forms, they were often created by artists, architects and poets and conform to the ‘style’ and aesthetic of a particular period. Renaissance gardens, for example, demonstrate an interest in classicism, symmetry and complex iconographic programmes. Modern gardens can be associated with many movements, including ‘art for art’s sake’ and conceptualism. Although the materials of a garden are both permanent and fleeting, the study of gardens provides insights into the culture in which they were created, into the economics of labour and land use and into the social hierarchies and behaviour demonstrated by their use. Gardens reflect and are revealed in literature, drama and painting. Yet, experiencing a garden is different from all other art forms, incorporating all five senses and movement by the viewer. Gardens are the earliest and finest form of ‘performance art’.