Tuesday 14 February 2012

B is for Belvedere

Bramante's Cortile del Belvedere
Literally translating as ‘beautiful view', the belvedere is a garden building positioned to take advantage of a particularly commanding vista over the garden and/or out to the landscape beyond.   With its origins as a defensive turret or look-out position, the belvedere was first used as an ornamental feature in the gardens of the Italian Renaissance.  A particularly fine example is in the Vatican Gardens, Rome, where the appropriately named Belvedere Court was designed by Donato Bramante for Pope Julius II from c.1505.  

The Gloriette at Schönbrunn
As an intrinsic feature of the Italian Renaissance Garden, the belvedere made its way across Europe.  In Vienna is to be found both the Belvedere Palace and the belvedere at Schönbrunn - although the latterit technically a gloriette - a belvedere on an elevated site.

Schönbrunn from the Gloriette
In Britain, it could be argued that the banqueting houses and buildings placed on top of the Mount, a Tudor innovation, were, in fact, an early form of belvedere since they provided a view out and had evolved from defensive look-outs.  The Renaissance-influenced belvedere became a particularly popular feature of 18th century landscape gardens. 

The Belvedere Tower at Claremont
Generally taking the form of a tower, they both provided an eye-catching feature within the landscape, and gave a stunning view over the surrounding countryside when climbed.  Arguably Sir John Vanbrugh designed the finest example at Claremont.  

1 comment:

  1. They are hardly follies are they? So vast, just shows you what real wealth there was back then.