Le Nôtre Thinks Bigger

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Ambition and Scale


Andre Le Nôtre had ambition, skill and was a master manipulator of scale. Perhaps the greatest of all large-scale formal landscapes the Palace of Versailles was one of his many works during his sixty year career. Using water, sky, trees, sculpture, mass plantings, great vistas, horizontal plains, changes of levels Le Nôtre masterly manipulated these components creating the French formal garden style.


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Le Nôtre also worked on a more intimate scale in the bosquets, A small grouping of trees or a decorative glades enclosed by a hedge or fence. the bosquets were full of surprises – fountains, small gardens filled with statuary, which provided a more human scale and intimate spaces.


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Le Nôtre grew up in an atmosphere of technical expertise; his father, Jean Le Nôtre, was the master gardener of King Louis XIII at the Tuileries. At the studio of painter François Vouet he studied the laws of perspective and optics, which he meticulously followed in his plans.


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Andre Le Nôtre created a number of other chateau gardens of great spatial felicity-among them Vaux-le-Vicomte, Sceaux and Chantilly, but nothing rivals Versailles for ambition and scale.


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The Genius of Grandeur

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