Los Angeles: Gardens at the Getty

Pippa Salonius   CMRS  UCLA

The incredible thing about the Getty is its ability to consistently produce new and exciting temporary shows of outstanding quality every two or three months. I just got back from an excellent exhibition at the Getty Museum on ‘Gardens in the Renaissance‘, May 28 – August 11, 2013.

Jean Bourdichon, 'Bathsheba Bathing', Leaf from the Hours of Louis XII, Tours. 1498-1499. Los Angeles, Getty Institute, Ms. 79r.

Jean Bourdichon, ‘Bathsheba Bathing’, Leaf from the Hours of Louis XII, Tours. 1498-1499. Los Angeles, Getty Institute, Ms. 79r.

Predominantly a display of Renaissance gardens in illuminated manuscripts, I really appreciated the variety of media curator Bryan Keene introduced his audience to. The map of the garden belonging to a private Nuremburg residence, oil paintings, prints of Florentine pageantry and the use of digital media all brought the show to life in a thoroughly enjoyable polished interactive performance. What fun! Plants are briefly described for their medical properties, their religious symbolism, and historical context, and the show ends with Hoefnagel’s exquisite botanical drawings in a very fine manuscript of calligraphy made for the Holy Roman emperors Ferdinand I and Rudolph II. Although this introduction to Renaissance gardens examines the European context in general, fabulous illustrations from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Concerning the Fates of Illustrious Men and Women and Francesco Colonna’s early printed book on Poliphilo among other specific Italian examples should certainly satiate any ACIS readers.

For any of you who arent completely gardened out after experiencing the exhibit, the Getty education program offers a series of demonstrations and courses on botanical drawing throughout July and an additional curatoria lecture on 27 July, 2013. I also just wanted to mention the deadlines for the 2014 RSA conference in New York 2014 (abstracts to be submitted by 11 June, 2013) and the MAA conference in LA 2014 (proposals due in 15 June, 2013). It’s late, I know, but if you have an idea already formed, it might be worth taking the time to write it up in a 250-word abstract and submit. There is always something to be learned at these conferences.

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