Plzeňské sympozia

Taťána Petrasová

The Concept of the Cave and the Theory of All Art

pp. 203–216 (Czech), Summary pp. 216-217 (English)

Th?e text is based on the well-known fact that in the 18th century a merging of garden theory and architectural theory occurred, and raises the question of how the theory of architecture and the theory of gardens came to be linked. In the author's view, the two theories were brought closer by the attempt at that time to create a universal
theory of all art forms, as advocated by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Both theoretical approaches started with an explanation of the beginning of art, or in this case of architecture. By contrast, the theory of the visual arts and the theory of garden together developed in particular the notion of imitating nature. Th?e cave is an object
that is situated at the interface between art, architecture, and nature. At the same time, because of its extensive history, going back to the grottos of Antiquity, the cave was suitable for presenting the requirement of new taste, as advocated by Christian Cay Lorenz Hirschfeld in his T?eorie der Gartenkunst. Basing herself on the interpretation of the cave in the essay Gefühle bei Besuchung des Schönhofer Gartens by the Prague painter Johann Quirin Jahn, which was published in the Prague journal Apollo in 1797, the author demonstrates the importance of this type of garden construction. She also draws on contemporary interpretations of Hirschfeld in the popular magazine Ideenmagazin für Liebhaber der Gärten, and refers to the most recent interpretations of two different kinds of cave that were both typical for that time: Mique's grottos in the Petit Trianon for the French queen Marie-Antoinette (1781) and the grottos of the English poet Alexander Pope in Twickenham (1718, 1739-1740). Th?e study comes to the conclusion that through the literary form of a discussion between a painter, an expert in architecture, and a man of letters, Jahn indicated the differing roots of the individual art forms. Himself unified fine arts, architecture and art of garden not through a theory of all art, but through the Enlightenment idea of the usefulness of gardens for the moral state of society.

Key words: the Czech lands - 18th century - architecture - aesthetics - theory of gardens - Johann Wolfgang Goethe - Alexander Pope

 

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