Historic Gardens as Places of Conflicting Values

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Mateusz Salwa

Abstract

The aim of the article is to present historical gardens as phenomena inevitably pervaded by an ongoing clash of values. The conflict stems from the twofold character of gardens where art (or in broader terms: culture) and nature are combined, which results in a tension between the tendency to remain static and durable that human culture seeks, and the changeability and dynamics that are inherent in nature. This conflict can be characterized by referring to a theory proposed by Austrian art historian Alois Riegl, one of the founders of modern monument restoration theory who identified three types of values associated with monuments: historical value, age value, and present-day values. What is more, one can assume that gardens can be treated as particular tokens of landscape. Thus, the conflict of values within a garden may be seen as a more limited example of the same clash going on at the more general level oflandscape. The argument is illustrated by a short case study of the recent debate over the restoration of the historic Krasinski Garden in Warsaw, Poland.

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