FREEMASONS' GARDENS IN POLAND AT THE TURN OF THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES (Ogrody wolnomularzy w Polsce na przelomie XVIII I XIX wieku)
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In the 18th century England gave Europe at least two things worth noticing: scenic parks and speculative freemasonry. Under the influence of freemasonry architectural symbols gardens were built in which the landscape architecture, to be read only through a freemason key by circle of initiates, was to mirror and inspire natural, and not absolutist political models. The symbolism referred mainly to the building of the Temple of Solomon, and the structures were given not only classicistic or neo-Gothic character but also Egyptising one. Making a ritual initiation journey, and then following the paths of an English garden, the initiate was to go through mental moral education. Masonic spiritual aim was to create an ideal society, not through reforms of the state but through the perfection of individual beings. For a long time the researchers interested in history of gardens have attempted to unravel the hidden symbolism. The problem is complex, since freemasonry, although it referred to very old traditions, was a child of its times and as such, in its writings and its symbolism drew from Enlightenment ideas so profusely that it makes it extremely difficult to explicitly interpret works of art. It is to be seen easily when we compare a project of a monument dedicated to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and a stricte Masonic engraving, where many elements are the same. Such research has been undertaken more and more often also in Poland. The article presents briefly the most important garden realisations in the territories of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where the associations with freemasonry could have been perceived, including those built within the circle of artistic patronage of Helena Radziwillowa and Izabela Czartoryska (both belonging to the Adoptive Lodge of 'Charity' - Dobroczynnosc). Radziwillowa created at Arkadia, and Czartoryska at Pulawy, and before that at Powazki - the gardens that were outstanding achievements in this field, immortalized by Jacques Delille in his poem Les jardines.
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