Baroque Landscape

Front Cover
André Le Nôtre (1613-1700) was the greatest landscape architect in France, and his work for Louis XIV (the Sun King) laid the groundwork for the baroque style in landscaping. He also defined the essence of French landscape design -scientific, rationalist-in counterpoint to the more romantic, naturalistic English tradition and based his work on the then state-of-the-art science of optics and perspective.

The castle and gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte (approximately 50 km south of Paris) were begun in 1653. They are the first great landscape designed by André Le Nôtre and mark the beginning of the baroque tradition in gardening. Many of the principles Le Nôtre tried and tested at Vaux were later employed to great acclaim at Versailles, which he designed at the height of his career.

Vaux-le-Vicomte is among the most popular French public gardens visited by tourists, roughly 50 percent of whom are from English-speaking countries.

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The Baroque landscape: André Le Nôtre & Vaux-le-Vicomte

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Before Louis XIV earned his name as the Sun King who unified France and heralded the kingdom's Grand Siecle of art and architecture, his finance minister Nicolas Fouquet hired the rising designer ... Read full review


Nicolas Fouquet A Pioneer of the Grand Siecle
The Original Garden and Its Redesign in a More Elaborate Style
Andre Le Notre Famous but Unknown

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About the author (2004)

Michael Brix is professor of art history at the Munich University of Applied Sciences.
His specialties are the art of photography, design history, and the urban architecture of Paris and America.