It took a long time before landscape painting took off. There were flashes of it emerging in the fouthteenth centuary and then again during the fifteenth. However one of the greatest illustrators of formal landscapes, parks and gardens was the Flemmish painter Giusto Utens.
Utens was commissioned by the Third Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando Medici, to paint lunette of their country estates, parks and gardens. These were carried out between 1599 and 1602 and acurately, allbeit with a little artistic licence for compositional purposes, record the landscape of the time.
Using a birds-eye view he perfectly captures the Florentine scenery in all its glory. It is fun to match the paintings against the modern skyline and see just how the suburbs have changed. Some are still very rural locations but others these days are at the heart of busy urban districts.
Overall, Utens captured 14 of the Medici estates that surround Florence and today you can now visit and walk around many of these villas and gardens. If you track down the villas around Florence on Google Earth, and using a 45′ view you can recreate the view point that Utens himself used.
Although in many instances the buildings have changed and plants and trees have been removed, there is still a lot of patterns in the landscape with which to line up the original paintings.
The Medici Florentine gardens in the Utens collection are –
- Villa Medici del Trebbio
- Villa Medicea di Cafaggiolo
- Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens
- Villa Medidi di Castello
- Villa Medici la Petraia
- Villa Medicea di Pratolino
- Villa Medici dell Armbrogiana
- Villa Medici di Lappeggi
- Villa Medici di Poggio a Caiano
- Villa Medici do Serravezza
- Villa Medico la Magia
- Villa Medici di Marignolle
- Villa Medici di Montevettolini
- Villa Medici di Colle Salvetti