History of Art and Architecture

Saskia Beranek Colloquium


Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

“In Living Memory: Amalia van Solms and the Dutch Garden”

Saskia Beranek, PhD, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

Jan van der Heyden, Huis ten Bosch, View of the Garden Façade.  Ca. 1668.
Oil on Wood, 39.1 x 55.2 cm.  Metropolitan Museum of Art

During the Dutch war of independence (1568 - 1648), the garden came to symbolize unity in the face of adversity.  This paper takes the political emblem of the Hollandse tuin (the “Dutch garden”) as a lens through which to examine the symbolic narratives of the gardens surrounding elite residential spaces.  In particular, I examine the palace Huis ten Bosch as a site that ties together the identity of the patron, an unstable political climate, and the complex rhetoric of commemoration.  The site is most famous for the surviving painted cycle from the preserved central hall of the building, usually studied in isolation.  Using materials produced by the architect, Pieter Post, I reintegrate the painted elements with architecture and garden planning and propose a reading that focuses on the relationships between interior and exterior realms.  The performative role of the patron, the design of the gardens, and the painted interior create a monument that not only commemorates the deceased, but stresses the patron herself as the vessel of living memory.