Monsters In The Garden At Mornington

We think of the Renaissance garden as a place of leisure and pleasure, a kind of earthly paradise – but no matter its ‘garden-as-idyll’ reputation it had a lot of violence going down.

There is the dark, toothy scream of the Hell Mouth in what’s been dubbed the “park of monsters”, a garden not far from Rome that is also populated with fighting ogres, vicious lions and an array of other lurid flights of fancy. There is a mighty stone giant erupting out of a landscape near Florence, water-breathing dragons at Villa d’Este in Tivoli and nasty hybrid creatures with snakes writhing in their hair in the Boboli Gardens in Florence.

Art historian Dr. Luke Morgan has been considering these and other “monstrous motifs” for more than 10 years and has concluded that Renaissance gardens are not just places of pleasure but of peril as well.

Morgan, a senior lecturer in art history and theory at Monash University, who is writing a book on the “monster in the garden”, covering all that is “grotesque, gigantic and monstrous” in Renaissance landscape design, will speak about the topic at the Friends of the Mornington Regional Gallery Art Bar & Twilight Talk at The Royal Hotel in Mornington.

“The Monster in the Garden: the Grotesque, the Gigantic and the Monstrous in Renaissance Landscape Design” will take place Monday, August 11 all at The Royal Hotel, 770 Esplanade, Mornington. Wine and canapés will be served at 6 pm; the lecture given from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm with dinner thereafter. For details and bookings phone: 0477 499 187.