Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Hortus conclusus

The concept for this year's Serpentine Gallery, says the designer Peter Zumthor, "is the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden".

The term hortus conclusus literally means "enclosed garden", but is also used as a symbol and title of the Virgin Mary in Mediaeval and Renaissance art. As such, it is associated with the doctrines of the immaculate conception and the perpetual virginity of Mary. Personally, I think the incarnation has greater depth without these doctrinal appendages, but the symbolism has led to some beautiful art, such as this Annunciation by Veneziano.

Here is Mucknell's own hortus conclusus, photo again from the Dedication on the Annunciation. At present it boasts some daffs, a few junipers, some baby hellebores, and some wild foxglove. We'll be putting ferns in too. Anything that we hope will cope with shade and wind.

Photo credit: Rev Andrew Spurr.

1 comment:

  1. Also, "paradise" comes via French, Latin and Greek from Eastern Old Iranian pairi.daêza-. This literally means "walled (enclosure)", from pairi- "around" + -diz "to create, make".