The pursuit of art and pleasure in the secret grotto of Wilhelm V of Bavaria

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Author: Susan Maxwell
Date: Summer 2008
From: Renaissance Quarterly(Vol. 61, Issue 2)
Publisher: The Renaissance Society of America
Document Type: Article
Length: 14,795 words
Lexile Measure: 1610L

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Abstract :

The Grottenhof is a small garden surrounded by painted loggias in the Munich Residence, a palace that served as the seat of the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria beginning in the sixteenth century. Completed between 1582 and 1589, the garden contains an elaborate grottoed fountain, sculpture, and paintings based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. The pictorial program of the painted loggias combines images of mythological ardor with illusionistic interlopers from everyday court life who make punning references to the pursuit of love, The sources for the garden can be found in Italian and French prototypes, yet the program of decorations creates a variety of associations that were unique to the patron, Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria. The material and subject matter also reflect contemporary theories about art, nature, and the ordering of knowledge that informed the earliest cabinets of curiosities, where collections of art and natural objects were brought together in the so-called Kunstkammer. The garden was meant to engage all of the senses in a sanctuary that stimulated sensual thoughts while provoking broader contemplation about creativity and art.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A179279441