Cultivating The Land: Gardens, Flora and Agriculture in Art

A cultivated garden or plot of agricultural land symbolises the control that the human race has learned to exercise over its surroundings. Throughout history we’ve been growing plants for nourishment, sanctuary, delight and solace. The creation of a garden is still the natural instinct of men and women who have long ceased to be nomadic.

Looking at imagery from diverse centuries and societies, we explore how portrayals of gardens, flora, and agriculture in art, have given us insight into our relationship with the natural world, and helped us to define what it means to be human.

We look at a variety of different approaches to the subject, such as the shocking symbolism in Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, the political imagery in Millet’s ‘The Gleaners’, and the beautiful textile designs of William Morris.