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‘I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.’

 Andrew Wyeth


Landscapes, parks and gardens

The old myth of the Garden of Eden reflects a fundamental human longing. In paradise Adam and Eve lived in peace. They knew neither illness nor death. The story of paradise symbolizes our dream of life in accord with nature.
The setting for this natural, harmonious way of life has always been the garden. The image of the walled garden has always been used for man’s longed-for victory over human frailty and imperfection.
The biblical story of paradise symbolically describes an original and completely natural way of life which is supposed to have been open to mankind in the beginning, and which promises the restoration of a kingdom of perfect harmony.
The Garden of Eden has been an inexhaustible model for the planners of large gardens. The garden or park represents an attempt to recover a lost paradise on earth and to anticipate the promised kingdom of heaven. Gardens unite artificial and natural beauty, have all the natural elements in it, like water, light and air. The models were unknown islands of desire. You can think of Elysium or Arcadia, also of Atlantis or Ithaca. Utopia, the ‘Nowhere Land’, the goal of human longing, unfulfilled in reality.
Beautiful gardens and parks can be a reflection of a more beautiful world, we all long for. The dream of paradise…

Barcelona - Garden of Eden - Germany and Italy - Hoge Veluwe - Loo, Apeldoorn (Holland) - myth of earthly paradise - Zen and gardening    and more...

Boboli, Florence


Kronenburgerpark Nijmegen


Heron hunt

The picture depicts two peregrine falcons attacking a blue heron, while a group of shepherds look on.
All the other paintings in the room of the Kabinet der Koningin in The Hague have metamorphosis as their theme, but no one has yet succeeded in finding any connection between this bucolic scene and Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Perhaps it should be seen as a forerunner of Dirk Dalens’s later, non-narrative Arcadian landscapes.




The myth of earthly paradise

The myth of earthly paradise, the longing for a life in harmony with nature, we already find it in literature of ancient times. Roman authors like Ovid and Vergilius describe the "golden age", the era in mythology, in which perfect prosperity and peace reigned A culture without vices. The blissful, innocent life is situated preferably in Arcadia, a region in Greece, the domain of the flute-playing god Pan. Arcadia was populated by simple shepherds who were hospitable, musical and always in love.
The landscape of Arcadia is depicted in herder poetry as grown over with lush meadows and shady valleys. The land of eternal Spring.

Aphrodite, Eros and Pan

The Golden Age, Lucas Cranach the Elder






                                   T O P



foto's alywagenvoorde 




The Garden of Eden

The earthly paradise is also called the garden of Eden. 'Eden' (Hebrew) means 'garden of delight'. It is the place, that God offered Adam and Eve. The freedom they enjoyed there, is represented in two ways: By the innocent nakedness of Adam and Eve, and by the peaceful way, in which they handle the animals , and the animals mutually.
Each period has its own idea about paradise.

In old  representations the earthly paradise is depicted as a place where peace reigns and where waters are streaming. In western drawings and paintings in the Middle Ages it was depicted as a kept garden, a kind of laid out park, with rose beds and walls. Later paradise was depicted as a wild landscape.


Het paradijs van Jan Brueghel de Oude


Het Bijbels Paradijs, 1530, Lucas Cranach de Oude

Het oordeel van Paris, Claude Lorrain


The islam also knows the concept of 'paradise; it is the place where those who led a good life will go to, after their death. According to the Koran the good persons will meet with many visible and physical pleasures. Some take this literally, many islam scolars interprete it allegorically. Paradise should be a green garden with many trees, fruit, shadow and rivers.

Landscape with Apollo, muses and rivergod, 1652, Claude Lorrain



Bach, Brandenburgs Concerto nr. 4
Beethoven, Symfonie nr. 6  "Pastorale";

Händel, "Herdsmelody" from "The Messiah"

Schubert, "Herdsmelody" and "Herds choir" from




Landscape with Apollo and Mercurius, 1645, Claude Lorrain

                                   T O P



Beethoven, Symfonie nr. 6 de "Pastorale"


the word 'paradise' is probably used by the eastern historic Xenophonus for the first time. He described the wonderful parks of the Persian kings and monarchs as paradise. The old Persian word for paradise is paridæza, in Greek translated as peri (around it) teichos (wall).

in early Indian this is paradesa, para (over) and desa (land), so 'abroad'. Paradise was seen as an exotic country.The word 'paradise' probably doesn't have a religious origin, but the concept got a comprehensive religious meaning. 



Gardens of Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin
(plan of the grounds after Eosander von Göthe 1708)


Landscape art in Holland

In Flevoland:  Polderland Garden of Love and Fire of Daniel Libeskind,
of Piet Slegers,
Sea Level
of Richard Serra,
De Groene Kathedraal
of Marinus Boezem
van Robert Morris. This last piece of art is one of the few real Land Art projects.

In The Hague:  Hemels Gewelf van James Turell

In Emmen Broken Circle and Spiral Hill of Robert Smithson.

Robert Morris, Observatorium
Photo: Gert Schutte

'Instead of using a paintbrush to make his art,
Robert Morris would like to use a bulldozer
Robert Smithson in Artforum, New York,
June 1967, no 5 pp. 36 - 40

Source: Museum De Paviljoens, Almere


                                                                                   Het Loo, Apeldoorn


                                   T O P



                                          One of my favorite landscapes... Bosco Sacro, Bomarzo

                       Fighting dragon                                                                          Pegasus

                                                                          Germany and Italy...

Hermitage, Bayreuth                                                       Detail Boboli Garden, Florence


Four pictures (1998) of the garden of Villa Garzoni, Collodi, also a lovely garden...


Lost Gardens of Heligan


Mud Maid, Lost Gardens Photo: markbagnall

                                   T O P


De Hoge Veluwe (Holland)

De Hoge Veluwe National Park encompasses more than 5.000 hectares of woodlands, moorland, grasslands and sand drifts.
There are more than 40 kilometres of cycle paths.
The famous 1700 White Bikes are available free of charge at the Park entrances and the Visitor Centre.
The Park's different landscapes are home to a wide diversity of plant and animal species. From the rare Fritillary to the imposing Red Deer, from the Alcon Blue to the Dwarf Viper's-grass; they all live in the Park.
The Park is also home to dozens of Red List species, such as the Wheatear, the Wryneck, the Moor Frog and the Grass Snake.
The fauna, or animal life in the Park, is as diversified as its lavish flora. The Park is habitat to numerous animals: some hundreds of Red Deer, Roe and Mouflon, dozens of Wild Boar and lots and lots of smaller animals.

The Franse Berg is in fact an elongated former active dune, some 20 metres high. The hill was formed by a growing dune when large parts of the Veluwe were still sand drifts. “Towering” 65 metres above Amsterdam Ordnance Datum (ANP), it is the highest point of De Hoge Veluwe National Park. The name ‘Franse berg’ probably survived from the time French troops used this as an observation post during the French occupation of the Netherlands (1792-1813). The Franse Berg is now planted with oak coppice to retain the sand. The Kröller-Müller crypt rests on the south side of the hill. The crypt looks out over the Pampelse and Deelense Zands but is closed to the public. 


Burial place


Franse Berg forms the boundary between the wooded landscape to the north and the open landscape towards the south. The hill protects the northern area from wind and drift sand. It was one of Helene Kröller-Müller’s favourite spots. She died in 1939 and lies buried here together with Anton Kröller (deceased in 1941). The couple started buying land in the Veluwe in 1906, eventually creating a large fenced estate.

                                   T O P


Zen and Gardening

'Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
Spring comes and the grass grows by itself.'

Zen saying

Kyoto, Japan

Groups of skilled craftsmen called senzui kawaramono ('mountain, stream and riverbed people') were responsible for creating a new style of garden, known as karesansui ('dry mountain stream').
Heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, groups of rocks represent mountains and waterfalls, and white sand is used to replace flowing water. This form of garden, not seen in any other part of the world, was probably influenced by Chinese ink-painted landscapes of barren mountains and dry riverbeds.

Lu Kongfeng 卢坤峰 (1934~)

Zen gardens are not to everyone's taste - the apparent random positioning of unhewn rocky outcrops, some covered in moss, and the linear shaping of gravel are austere to those used to a profusion of borders and colour and wide expanses of lawn.
Western gardening is so much about statement and flourishes and crammy empty spaces with some eye-catching arrangement.
Zen gardens are the opposite. They are about reducing the number of elements to a minimum and using the spaces between to create a harmonious experience. They are about soothing the senses rather than stimulating them.


Kyoto, Japan

The Yin-Yang Garden

Balance and harmony are the heart of the Zen garden, reflecting the Tao symbol of yin and yang: the two opposing forces of nature - male/female, outer/inner, darkness/lightness. The opposites are harmonious, however, because they are mutually interdependent. They balance and maintain harmony. The dark and light coloured halves are mirror images making up a whole. In each half there is a tiny circle containing the other half's colour. This symbolizes that one cannot exist without the other, that yin and yang are inseparable.

Chengdu, China

So it is in the garden - yin is represented by sand and gravel. Zen gardens are dry, so this takes the place of water, which is a 'soft' yin element. This is counterbalanced by the 'hard' yang elements of rock or clumps of bamboo.

Individual rock groupings are planted to create harmonious shapes such as triangles, though it may be very subtle. The rocks are also symbolic of the mountains where the monks went to meditate, so these rocks are not just positioned on top but rooted firmly below the ground level of the garden.


Koyasan, Japan                                   

                                   T O P