Die Villa Lante in Bagnaia, Volume 1

Front Cover
Edition A. Menges, 2001 - Architecture - 432 pages
Text in German. The Villa Lante in Bagnaia near Viterbo is outstanding among 16th-century Italian gardens. It is not particularly large, but it is the undisputed highlight of this epoch, the heyday of Italian horticulture, not just because it is outstandingly well maintained, but also because of its unique formal qualities and its extremely complex iconographic programme. The present monograph attempts to establish what triggers the intense sense of beauty with which visitors to the gardens are confronted. It is immediately clear that it is essential to analyse the form of the garden -- here the extremely precise treatment of central perspective as a device is of considerable interest -- but close attention has also to be paid to the significance of the individual elements and the connections between them. This examination brings an elaborate accumulation of various sign systems to light, which seem to have the astonishing characteristic of not being entirely reconcilable, indeed they appear to build in contradictions as a basic constant. From this develops a panorama of the late 16th century, presenting the tangled pathways of perception of the gardens in all their complex relations, from the various late Renaissance garden types, via philosophy, the response to antiquity, perception of nature, perspective, harmony, literature, theatre and religion, and on to models of time and the forms it takes. Against this background the garden of the Villa Lante, which belonged to the scholarly cardinal and inquisitor Francesco Gambara, proves to be a difficult -- and perhaps not entirely successful -- balancing act between Renaissance traditions and the thrust of the Counter-Reformation, but showing at the same time, as a kind of 'apotheosis of the artwork', a surprising affinity with the present day.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Das Problem der Beschreibung
Die Deutung des Giardino allItaliana

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Fritz Barth studied architecture in Stuttgart and Zurich. He runs an architects practice in Fellbach near Stuttgart, teaches at the TU Darmstadt and is the author of a series of books, including a study on the iconography of 16th-century Italian gardens (Die Villa Lante in Bagnaia , 2001), a monograph about the Bohemian Baroque master builder Johann Santini-Aichel (Santini, 2004) and a study of the fortifications of Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Martial Signifiers. Fortress Complexes by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, 2011).

Bibliographic information