oct 27th, zoom: gardens of eloquence: european rulership and the late medieval garden


The medieval enclosed garden is something of a commonplace. Outside of scholarship on specific sites, much discussion on the enclosed garden tends to focus on the timeworn literary tropes that such spaces evoke: the hortus conclusus, paradise, locus amoenus, plaisance, garden of love, etc. Often this is framed within a teleological narrative that posits the medieval garden’s enclosure as the antithesis to the expansive scope and humanist references of gardens of the renaissance and beyond. Very little discussion focuses on how medieval gardens were actually used and experienced within the larger spaces they were situated. Focusing on actual sites, contemporary accounts, as well as the evidence provided by art of the period, this paper explores how the late medieval garden was used as both a frame for Valois, Burgundian and Hapsburg rulership and as an emblem of identity.