The Garden of Earthly Delights: Medieval Gardens and Their Meanings

11 October 2012 – 15 November 2012

The garden in medieval Europe was more than just a space where nature was cultivated and enjoyed. It was a cultural concept that existed as powerfully in the mind as it did in reality; a potent allegory for contemporary ideas about good and evil, filtered through a Christian consciousness. This course of 5 lectures explores the complex and sometimes contradictory range of meanings carried by the garden in medieval thinking. Sources are drawn from a wide range of medieval and early Renaissance imagery and include expressionistic Romanesque sculpture, exquisite illustrated manuscripts, glowing stained glass, sumptuous panel paintings and tapestries, backed up by references to contemporary music and poetry and a fledgling theatrical tradition.