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Gardens As Art

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This event began 2020-03-01 and repeats every week on Sunday until 2020-03-29

Gardens As Art: Aesthetic Journeys around the World runs Sundays in March

Popular Sunday Lecture Series returns to the AGGV


The Sunday Art Lecture Series at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has the theme, Gardens as Art:

Aesthetic Journeys around the World and features the approach of professors of art history to four

famous gardens located in France, Italy, Egypt and Japan.

The illustrated lecture series, a perennial sellout, will take place over the course of four Sunday

afternoons: March 1, 8, 22 and 29, from 2:00 to 4:00 at the AGGV.

In the first lecture entitled Japan in Giverny: Monet’s Impressionist Garden, Melissa Berry will

explore Claude Monet’s horticultural design. When Claude Monet moved to Giverny in 1883, his

objective was creation. Thus, Monet’s largest, most immersive masterwork was born, or rather

cultivated. He approached his land with an artist’s eye to establish a colourful, everchanging

garden. Monet’s horticultural design was determined by his aesthetic influences, especially Japan.

Botanical Art: Cairo’s Matarea Garden by Marcus Milwright, is the second lecture in the series.

During the Medieval period the finest balsam oil was traded for its weight in gold. The source of this

precious substance was a walled garden owned by the sultan of Egypt, and located in the town of

Matarea just outside of Cairo. This talk uses visual sources and texts, including European travel

accounts and Coptic religious writings, to reconstruct the topography of the garden in the centuries

prior to the demise of the last balsam tree in 1615.

Betsy Tumasonis will lecture on Niki de Saint Phalle’s “Giardino dei Tarocchi”: A French Artist and

her Italian Sculpture Garden. Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002) was a French artist and sculptor

who associated in the early 1960s with the French Nouveaux Realistes group. She experimented

with assemblages made of bizarre collections of objects, evoking a Dadaist sense of the absurd. In

1980 she began work on her “Giardino dei Tarocchi” (Tarot Garden) in Tuscany. She filled the

park-like property with enormous colourful otherworldly figures based on images from the Tarot

deck (fortune-telling cards). A stroll through the garden is a magical experience.

The final lecture by David Young. is called Shibusa Aesthetics: Spontaneity in Japanese Gardens.

The goal of a traditional Japanese garden is to re-create nature on a small scale and in an

artistic way that improves upon nature. Keeping in mind that the word “art” comes from the

same word as “artificial,” how can something be natural and artificial at the same time? This

interesting challenge was met in Japan with the concept of shibusa, which can be translated

as “restrained spontaneity” or “spontaneity of effect.”

The Sunday Lecture Series is a fundraiser for the AGGV by the Gallery Associates whose role is to

volunteer, promote and support the AGGV through fundraising events and programs. Proceeds

from the series go toward supporting Gallery exhibitions and programs.

Daniel Mato, professor emeritus of art history, University of Calgary, will moderate the sixth annual

Sunday Lecture Series.

Tickets for the entire series cost $100 for AGGV members/any student or $120 for non-members.

Each individual lecture costs $30 for AGGV members/any student; $35 for non-members. Tickets

are available online at https://aggv.ca/sunday-art-lecture-2020/ and at the AGGV, 1040 Moss


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