Friday, September 14, 2012

Metropolitan Museum: Chinese Gardens Pavilions, Studios, Retreats


From exhibition description:

This exhibition explores the rich interactions between pictorial and garden arts in China across more than one thousand years. In the densely populated urban centers of China, enclosed gardens have long been an integral part of residential and palace architecture, serving as an extension of the living quarters. The preferred site for hosting literary gatherings, theatrical performances, and imaginary outings, gardens were often designed according to the same compositional principles used in painting; likewise, as idealized landscapes, they frequently drew inspiration from literary themes first envisioned by painters. Artists were called upon not only to design gardens but also, as gardens came to be identified with the tastes and personalities of their residents, to create idealized paintings of gardens that served as symbolic portraits reflective of the character of the owner.
Bolded text by editor. Preferred site for imaginary outings. That is something to get your head around. An imaginary outing in a circa 1235 Chinese palace garden. It would be like going to Mars.

Unfortunately, there is but a single image online, as I am very curious about the mention of "rustic retreats," an idea that seems like such a modern, get-away-from-the-hustle-bustle, overly self aware conceit. Admittedly, that is a conceit that I share.

Chinese Gardens at the Met