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Colloquium on : "The Renaissance garden, between arts and sciences" - Day 1

16 July 2019 - 9:30 am - 6:00 pm


As part of the 500 YEARS OF THE RENAISSANCE, the Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil is organising "The Renaissance Garden between Arts and Sciences" on 16 and 17 July 2019, in partnership with the Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance de Tours & the Programme Régional Intelligence des Patrimoines and, in partnership with Michael Jakob, professor at the Haute Ecole de Paysage, Ingénierie et Architecture de Genève and the University of Grenoble.

A unique initiative in the southern part of the Centre-Val de Loire-Berry region, this symposium is intended to highlight Renaissance gardens, in the context of the Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil, which is fully in keeping with this period with its architecture and water gardens. The emphasis is on the transversality between the Renaissance gardens of the Centre-Val de Loire Region and the multiple forms of artistic expression that they generate (Download the press release)


Conference registration - Ticketing access


Detailed programme of Day 1 (Tuesday 16 July)

Updated on 31/05/2019

Words of Welcome : Marie-Sol de La Tour d'Auvergne

Introduction : Michael Jakob and Benoist Pierre Moderators

"For a hermeutic of Renaissance gardens » Michael Jakob

"Land and water: the Este gardens in Ferrara and their context Ada V. Sergre Agronomist Historian of Gardens-Israel

"The Renaissance garden in the Loire Valley, myth and reality Alain Salamagne Researcher at the Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours

"Gardens and natural philosophers in the Veneto in the 16th century, a fruitful dialogue between botany and geology Juliette Ferdinand Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

"The parks and gardens of Hans Bol's miniatures (1534/1593) and the praise of landscape Laurent Paya Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires en Sciences Humaines & Sociales Montpellier III

Objectives of the Symposium "The Renaissance Garden, between arts and sciences

  • To show the extraordinary richness and creativity of the Renaissance, a period that reinvented the garden, which had almost disappeared for many centuries. The Renaissance flourished in the Centre-Val de Loire, which is said to be "the garden of France". It transformed gardens into a total art form bringing together all the arts - architecture, sculpture, painting, music and dance - whose skilful creation required a deep knowledge of the sciences of geometry, optics and hydrology, to name but a few.
  • Todeepen and compare the knowledge of specialists on the art of the Renaissance garden and to educate the public of amateurs and scholars who will participate in these study days.


Presentation of the project

It is too often forgotten that one of the great merits of the Renaissance was that it reinvented the garden itself. It was the programmatic gardens of the Renaissance that revived a language and diversity that had already characterised the Roman gardens in particular. These new gardens were a true total art form and functioned from the outset as a meeting place for the arts and sciences.

The colloquium will examine practices and performances in the Renaissance garden from the point of view of the specific phenomena that affected visitors' perception of them. The language of the flowerbeds, the interpretation of the garden as a 'ledger', the importance of inscriptions, the presence of hydraulic structures, as well as the dialectic between iconic and verbal elements in the 'reading' of this highly complex art form will be analysed, all of which is supported by the scientific discoveries and philosophical discourse of the time.


Scientific organisation 

Benoist Pierre

Professor of exceptional class at the University of Tours, junior member of the Institut universitaire de France.
Graduate of the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris and the University Institute of Florence, Director of the Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) -(UMR 7323 and UFR) since 2016 and of the Regional Programme Intelligence des Patrimoines.
His work focuses on court societies and the State in modern Europe and the study of heritage.


Michael Jakob

Professor of Landscape Theory and History at the Geneva School of Landscape, Engineering and Architecture; Visiting Professor of Landscape Theory and History at the Politecnico di Milano and the Accademia di Architettura of Mendrisio; Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University; Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Grenoble; Director of the collections "di monte in monte" (Verbania, Tarara Ed.) and "Paysages" (Ed. Infolio) and of the comparative literature journal "Comp(a)raison"; 2018, Curator of the exhibition "Des Jardins & des Livres" and Director of the scientific colloquium at the Bodmer Foundation in Geneva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Planned stakeholders

Ada V. Sergre is an agronomist, garden historian and conservator trained in Israel, Italy and the UK. Her main area of research and work as a garden conservator is Italian Renaissance gardens, historical planting design and design techniques. Lecture on: "Land and water: the Este gardens in Ferrara and their context".

Denis Ribouillault is an art, landscape and garden historian and associate professor at the University of Montreal. Author of numerous books and articles on the gardens of Rome and Europe, his current research, between the history of art and the history of science, focuses on astronomy and cosmology in European gardens.
Lecture on : "The marvellous stairs of the Villa of Pratolino, "il celeste palazzo del sole

Lucia Tomasi TongiorgiLucia Tomasi Tongiorgi, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Pisa, has dealt with the relationship between art and science in the modern era, in particular with the naturalist image (botany and zoology), the history of the garden, botanical gardens and landscape iconography. She has written over 200 contributions on these subjects and organised exhibitions in Europe and the United States.
Conference on : "Art, nature and science. Some European gardens in the Renaissance".

Alessandro TosiAlessandro Tosi is an associate professor of modern art history at the University of Pisa, where he teaches and researches in the Department of Civilization and Forms of Knowledge. His research focuses on the themes of modern and contemporary artistic culture and on the relationship between the history of the garden and the arts and sciences.
Lecture on: "Garden and landscape in the Renaissance: the eye of the naturalist".

Alain Salamagne was a lecturer in modern art history at the University of Lille III. Since 2000 he has been a professor of architectural history at the University of Tours and a researcher at the Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance. He has published a dozen books and a hundred articles on the history of medieval and Renaissance castles and their construction sites.
Conference on : "The Renaissance garden in the Val-de-Loire, myth and reality. »

Juliette FerdinandJuliette Ferdinand, who holds a doctorate in the history of Renaissance art on Bernard Palissy, is publishing a book in 2019 entitled "Bernard Palissy, artisan des réformes entre art, science et foi". Her current research focuses on the gardens of Veneto, places of intersection between art and science. She collaborates with the Histara team of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Conference on : « Gardens and natural philosophers in Veneto in the 16th century, a fruitful dialogue between botany and geology".

Sara Taglialagamba is a garden historian. After a Post PhD at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes at the Sorbonne, she was appointed assistant professor of Art History at the University of Pisa and then visiting professor at the University of Mexico UNAM. She is currently assistant professor of History of Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano and has published books on Leonardo da Vinci. Conference on : "Leonardo da Vinci's fountains and hydraulic systems for the French patrons Louis XII, Charles d'Amboise & François I".

Stéphanie de Courtois D. in art history on "Edouard André and the society of his time". She taught at the Ecole du Paysage de Versailles and joined the team of the Master in Historic Gardens, Heritage and Landscape in 2009 at the Ecole nationale supérieure d'architecture de Versailles. In 2017 she took over the direction of the Master in Historic Gardens, continuing her research on garden designers. Conference on: "Renaissance. Dreams and appropriations by French landscape architects in the Second Empire. »

Nicolas Fiévé is a historian of architecture and a specialist in Japan. He joined the CNRS in 1993 and was attached to the Institut d'Asie orientale de Lyon, where he joined the Japanese Civilisation team of the Collège de France. In 2007, he was elected director of studies at the Historical and Philological Sciences section of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, where he teaches the history of architecture and gardens in premodern Japan (16th-19th century). He has published: L'architecture et la ville du Japon ancien - Espace architectural de la ville de Kyoto et des résidences shogunales aux XIVe et XVe siècles - l'Atlas historique de Kyoto.
Lecture on : "The art of landscape and the gardens of the lords Ii in 17th century Japan.

Laurent Paya teaches landscape design and the graphic representation of projects. As an associate member of the Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance de Tours and the Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires en Sciences humaines et Sociales de Montpellier III, he conducts research on the development and circulation of artistic, scientific and technological knowledge of the socialisation of nature. His publications include "Géométrie des parterres du jardin de plaisir à la Renaissance: inscrire le cercle dans le carré d'un compartiment" and "Les jardins en forme d'Isle en Bourgogne (1450-1650)".
Conference on : "The parks and gardens in the miniatures of Hans Bol (1534-1593) and the praise of the landscape

Michael Jakob moderator of the conference will give a lecture on : "For a hermeneutic of Renaissance gardens


Conference venue: the Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil

Ainay-le-Vieil Castle is a powerful 13th century fortress essential to the defence of the Kingdom of France during the Hundred Years' War and a former property of Jacques Coeur. The Lords of Bigny, ancestors of the current owners, made it their home in 1467, building a Renaissance main building and creating water gardens.

The gardens, located opposite the château and on three levels, include a rose garden framed by two pavilions built around 1600, the Grand Carré en l'Ile surrounded by canals characteristic of the Renaissance, and the Chartreuses composed of high-walled rooms, veritable open-air greenhouses allowing for a longer production of fruit. They now contain five themed gardens evoking the art of gardens from the Renaissance to the present day. The castle and the gardens are classified as Historic Monuments and the gardens have the Remarkable Garden Label.


Project coordinator

Marie-Sol de La Tour d'Auvergne, co-owner and manager of the gardens of the Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil, Vice-President of the Fondation des Parcs et Jardins de France and President Emeritus of the French Heritage Society. 


Conference registration - Ticketing access

Practical indications


Friends of the Château d'Ainay le Vieil
Téléphone :
+33 2 48 63 50 03
E-mail :
See the Organiser's website


7, rue du Château
Ainay le Vieil, 18200 France
+ Google Map
Téléphone :
+33 2 48 63 02 88

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