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  • Bianca Vinther

One essential thing about art

What is your definition of art – in one short answer?

White cube in a white space.

This time I’m gonna be talking about flourishing gardens and the essence of art. I’ve chosen two distantly related topics for three apparently unrelated reasons:

  1. The question of "what is art and its essence" is a meaningful inquiry. Throughout human history, and in particular, since the early modern period, countless discussions have been dedicated to this topic. We still have no unique answer to it. And we will never have. That’s right: this question is evergreen, and there will always be a myriad of answers to it.

  2. Understanding the essence of art is paramount for understanding ourselves, how we see, and how we make art.

  3. I love to talk about anti-seasonal topics, like astonishingly green gardens, when the weather turns nasty in this part of Europe (I live in Aachen, in the three-border region of Germany-Belgium-Netherlands, and it’s pretty dark, cold, and wet around here these days).

Giardino di Ninfa versus Parco Reale di Caserta

There’s a remarkable BBC documentary with Monty Don about the Italian gardens, which I’ve watched so many times and never got bored with. In one of these documentaries, I recently rediscovered the Garden of Ninfa from Cisterna di Latina (southeast of Rome) and the concept behind this magic corner of paradise on earth.

The Garden of Ninfa was created in the 1920's in the English garden style by a descendant of a princely Italian family, Gelasio Caetani, as a mosaic of various plant species that he brought to Italy from his many travels abroad. And as a colour tribute to Nature.

River flowing under a Romantic bridge in the midst of nature.
A glance into the Garden of Ninfa

This mysterious, life-vibrating work of landscape gardening leaves so much room for interpretation and for our imagination to unfold. The garden of Ninfa is a gate into an unknown realm of possibilities. The gardener works here with Nature’s infinite potential, versatile character, and power of transformation. And he lets himself be led. By Nature and its creative energy.

No force or personal ego is imposed on the landscape. The work is intentional but not strong-willed. It is the art of a true master: an inspired choice of plants matched with discrete touches of creativity in perfect harmony. A living painting. You can find here so much love and care for Nature‘s wonders! And so much freedom and inspiration for your art!

The Garden of Ninfa is a beautiful metaphor for the essence of art. The contrast with the perfectly manicured gardens of the Caserta Palace (about 40 km north of Napoli) is striking.

The Parco Reale of the Royal Palace of Caserta is part of a project by the Italian architect Luigi Vanvitelli, which was initiated in 1753 in the style of André Le Nô