André Le Nôtre: Gardener to the Sun King
Andre Le Notre, chief landscape gardener at Versailles, enjoyed a thirty-five-year relationship with his patron, Louis XIV, the Sun-King. Born in Paris, grandson and son of gardeners, he grew up in the Tuileries and amid the flourishing of the decorative artssculpture, gardening, painting, architecturein the nearby workshops of the Louvre. This book recounts his life and achievements in a distillation of facts and musings. Le Notre was recognized as a genius in his time, particularly in his innovative use of perspective and reflective water surfaces. His services were sought by the rich and powerful, and he was responsible for an "archipelago" of gardens surrounding Paris, including Fontainebleau, Marly, and Chantilly. This book focuses on Versailles and the unlikely association of "the most powerful of monarchs, to whose will everything must bend" and a master gardener who never for a moment claimed to be anything else. The search for happiness is a recurring theme, implicit in the title and in remarks such as "any walk [in Versailles park] is a peaceful pursuit of happiness." If happiness comes from fulfilling one's potential, Le Notre was a happy man in his calling to give pleasure to others. He created an enduring legacy in a fragile medium.
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