Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nature in Culture - Part 1: The Grapes

(above photo, obtained, uncredited from the internet)

Frank Lloyd Wright - not an impartial observer - called Architecture the "Mother Art." But then, we are all aware that artists have always looked to forms in nature for inspiration. And in architecture, one might riff off Wright and say that nature is Mother's milk.

Any skeptic's doubt can be countered with an injunction to look at this capital on one of the double columns surrounding an enclosed garden at The Cloisters, the museum in northern Manhattan which houses a large portion of the Metropolitan Museum's Medieval Art collections. The building that comprises The Cloisters incorporates the Museum's collection of architectural fragments from five distinct medieval French cloisters. Three gardens designed around these medieval colonnades hew closely to horticultural principles and concepts gleaned from literary and art historical treatises from the Middle Ages.

One need not be a literalist. But it is hard to resist posting an illustration via this dramatic darkling shot of Vitis coignetiae, the ornamental grape vine, otherwise known as the Glory Bower vine.

Or the sun-drenched fruits in the lead-in photograph of grapes above.

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