Written by Jacques Boyceau de la Baraudière (French, active 1602ca. 1633)
Published by Michel van Lochom, Paris
Etching; 30 1/8 x 21 3/8 in. (76.5 x 54.2 cm) (plate)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1926 (26.104.2)
Jacques Boyceau de la Baraudière's Traité du jardinage selon les raisons de la nature et de l'art, published in Paris in 1638, was the most important publication on the subject of garden architecture in the period prior to André Mollet's 1651 treatise. The title explains the content of the book, which combines practical information with aesthetic insight. It was through the dissemination of such print works that the latest French garden-artistic principles and new patterns for parterre decorations would become known abroad. Boyceau's treatise depicts the gardens of the Luxembourg, commissioned in 1615 by Marie de' Medici with her Florentine Palace and Boboli Gardens in mind. The grand parterre formed the visual focus of the whole building complex, highlighting the element of "variety" stressed by Boyceau. The overall form of this remarkably unified parterre ensemble consisted of one monumental square with a semi-circular termination, filled with intricate "embroideries" of boxwood, plants, and colored stones, containing the crowned monogram of Marie de' Medici.