China had a seminal role on evolution of European garden art of 17th and 18th centuries. If, beginning with the first decades of the 18th century, garden architecture in the Chinese style became a real fashion in western gardens, reflecting European enthusiasm for chinoiserie, already from the last decades of the 17th century, appeals to Chinese gardening practices were used by theorists, in England first and then in continental Europe, to establish a connection between the new irregular, “natural”, western garden style under development and Chinese design. The irregularity of Chinese landscaping foreshadowed a direction, or in any case had strong analogies, with a cultural orientation that Europe, and above all England, was already moving toward. For this reason, reports on Chinese gardens found an intensely interested audience. Written by Jesuits, persons with extensive experience of China, these accounts of gardens were full of reliable information, which nourished a western readership hungry for the truth about that exotic world. The article discusses the significance of the Jesuits’ descriptions in engendering and developing the new type of garden inspired by natural scenes which took hold in England and Europe, and their contribution to the general cultural debate on the evolution of western gardens under the ensign of naturalness.

Borrowing from China. The Society of Jesus and the Ideal of Naturalness in XVII and XVIII Century European Gardens

RINALDI, BIANCA MARIA
2005

Abstract

China had a seminal role on evolution of European garden art of 17th and 18th centuries. If, beginning with the first decades of the 18th century, garden architecture in the Chinese style became a real fashion in western gardens, reflecting European enthusiasm for chinoiserie, already from the last decades of the 17th century, appeals to Chinese gardening practices were used by theorists, in England first and then in continental Europe, to establish a connection between the new irregular, “natural”, western garden style under development and Chinese design. The irregularity of Chinese landscaping foreshadowed a direction, or in any case had strong analogies, with a cultural orientation that Europe, and above all England, was already moving toward. For this reason, reports on Chinese gardens found an intensely interested audience. Written by Jesuits, persons with extensive experience of China, these accounts of gardens were full of reliable information, which nourished a western readership hungry for the truth about that exotic world. The article discusses the significance of the Jesuits’ descriptions in engendering and developing the new type of garden inspired by natural scenes which took hold in England and Europe, and their contribution to the general cultural debate on the evolution of western gardens under the ensign of naturalness.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11581/203921
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