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Abstract

Gardens are sites of meaning. Like a book or a painting, they may be considered as texts to be decoded. From iconographic treatments of providing the intended message to the actual “texting” of the terrain, the evolution of how gardens function as “architextual” sites is our focus. This inquiry begins by framing traditional methods, used in Renaissance and seventeenth-century Italian and French gardens, of assigning meaning to landscapes through the use of iconography. Louis xiv’s Versailles typifies this procedure which shifts radically when we consider the eighteenth-century folly gardens such as Ermenonville. Turning to a pair of textually-charged, post-modern experiments in Scotland—Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta and Charles Jencks’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation—inscribing words onto the landscape charts new terrain in how we view the gardens of our time.

In: Art and Science in Word and Image
In: The Imaginary: Word and Image
In: Efficacité / Efficacy
In: Elective Affinities