The Painter’s Garden

Design, Inspiration, Delight

24 November 2006 to 11 March 2007

Gardens offer people protection, relaxation and inspiration. They are a place of retreat from the turmoil of everyday life, mirrors of the soul, a budding source of inspiration, and an inexhaustible store of ideas for new images. Over the course of the centuries, they have inspired artists to produce many masterpieces. This exhibition was devoted to the motif of the garden in fine art – spanning all epochs and genres – and presented its diverse portrayal with more than 200 exemplary works from internationally significant museums and collections.

The painted garden is as varied as its interpretations: the mediaeval garden of Paradise represented a magical sphere from which all evil remains excluded; Peter Paul Rubens gathered society groups at play in grandiose palace gardens; Jean-Antoine Watteau and Jean-Honoré Fragonard abducted the viewer into splendid gardens of love. The psychological interpretation of the garden began with the Enlightenment. Caspar David Friedrich saw himself as a mediator between man and nature, while Carl Spitzweg gives us an insight into small, bourgeois gardens. Finally, the studio windows of Adolf Menzel, Carl Blechen and Lovis Corinth no longer looked out on small green refuges, but on narrow, neglected backyards - the first consequences of industrialisation.

CURATOR: Dr. Sabine Schulze, Städel Museum
FURTHER VENUE: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, München, 4/5–7/8/2007
SUPPORTED BY: Hessische Kulturstiftung, Der Grüne Punkt–Duales System Deutschland GmbH, Alnatura
Produktions– und Handels GmbH, Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank
Media-Partner: Handelsblatt, hr2-kultur, VGF, Y&R