Gardener of Kings, King of Gardeners

The scale and magnificence of French garden design during Louis XIV’s reign was represented by his chateau at Versailles. It became the model for Europe, if not the whole world at that time,  in all the arts. The gardens of Versailles with their parterres, pools, sculptures and groves formed a natural complement to the classical design of the Chateau. Despite later alterations they remained the model for the ‘French’ garden in which, according to the classical taste, nature is subjugated to a strict design. In old age Louis XIV was seen to wheel his gardener and friend Andre Le Notre around the grounds of Versailles in his bath chair. He earned everyone’s respect and the title le bon jardinier, Gardener of Kings and King of Gardeners. At the pool of Apollo a magnificent sculptural group by Jean Baptiste Tubby depicted the Sun God rising in his chariot from the water amid the spray of fountains, accompanied by tritons and dolphins.  With the dusk they came to rest, while the rest of the chateau partied on.

 

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