Tuesday, September 15, 2015

15 September 1700... 4:00 A.M.

This morning, around 12:30 a.m, I got to the end of the book I was reading, and found this:

  15 September 1700.  
Clocks struck 4:00 A.M.
  Le Nôtre had gone. 

How stunned I've felt today that I read that line on the 315th anniversary of his death.   I've felt a sting a bit like mourning a loss, or mourning the loss of some missed opportunity.

Alas, I've started at the end of the story (or at least the middle) and not the beginning.

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First, let me warn you today's entry is not about jewelry at all.   (It appears to fall in the "...and Reflections" category of this blog, which allows me to write about jewelry and/or whatever else I'm thinking about on any given day!)

Next, let me ask, are you one of those people who prefer to watch a movie first or read a book (fiction or non-fiction)?     I can go either way, but must admit one thing, I often find myself inspired by a movie and wanting to learn more about the story, the characters, the history involved.   And so I delve into reading afterward.  

It has happened to me twice in the last couple of weeks and I'm glad for it.  

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Now, back to the very beginning:

A couple of weeks ago, my two guys went exploring for 12 days in Glacier Park with other family members.   I wasn't feeling up to long car rides and remained home.   Determined not to be completely miserable the entire time, I ordered a few new movies from Amazon, creating my own little "vacation treat."   

Two of the movies I ordered were:

1) Far from the Madding Crowd:

Far From the Madding Crowd

DVD from Amazon starring Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, and Tom Strurridge (2015)
Original Sound track by Craig Armstrong (Artist)
Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy

I had planned to see this movie at the theater but it didn't pan out.  I was familiar with the soundtrack (lovely) and had purchased that in advance.   I was so awed by this movie, that I had to read the novel I'd had sitting on my bookshelf for several years.   I so thoroughly enjoyed this in every format!   (I must note that I've linked to Amazon but am not in anyway connected  with them or promoting them.   I would encourage  you to check your local libraries and bookstores too if you are interested in purchasing.)

2) A Little Chaos

A Little Chaos (DVD)

DVD from Amazon:  Starring Kate Winslet, Matthia Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, and Stanley Tucci (2015)
Original soundtrack by:  Peter Gregson  
  • Andre Le Notre: Gardener to the Sun King, 2001, by Erik Orsenna and Moishe Black*   (This is the book I referred to at the top of the page.)
  • The Sun King's Garden: Louis XIV, Andre le Notre and the Creation of the Gardens of Versailles, 2006, by Ian Thompson    (This book has not arrived yet.)    (Update:  9/16, the book is here!   It looks very promising--focusing again not only on the gardens but on leNotre's relationship with the King.)   

Like "Far From the Madding Crowd," "A Little Chaos" was one of THE best movies I've seen in ages.  (I had never heard of  Matthias Schoenaerts before these movies arrived and didn't realize they starred this same actor until removing the DVDs from the box they were mailed in!  Must say, I'm a new fan!)   The music is completely mesmerizing--calming, exciting, intertwining with the theme of the story, just as any great soundtrack should, yet music I find I can listen to again and again.   (And that is very rare for me.)  The  phrase "It comes from the heavens" gets used  several times in this film, and fits the movie and the music perfectly!   It sounds like musical water...

While "Far from the Madding Crowd"  is a wonderful (and close) adaptation of Hardy's novel, "A Little Chaos" is fictional but contains many characters (not all) who once lived.   This brings me to my recent fascination  with  André Le Nôtre.   He was in the movie, as in real-life, the gardener to the French King Louis XIV, often called "The Sun King."   (In case you need a quick brush-up on European history, that's 2 kings before Louis XVI who was married to Marie Antoinette.  Both were taken from Versailles and later executed.   I'm  not giving away ANY of this story by reminding you of that!   ...And, if you've never seen this movie, give it a try!)

Le Nôtre combined geometry, art, engineering and gardening to create the architecturally stunning gardens and reflecting water ways at Versailles and other very notable residences in and around  Paris.    While working very closely with the King, he managed to maintain a mostly positive relationship with him and others at court and beyond (as if his other jobs weren't full time enough)!  

What an inspiring life!  What amazing accomplishments in so many ways.  What people to have walked among, conversed with, worked creatively with, and what a time to have lived!

While there is not much evidence for a full-scale biography, the bits that remain do tell an interesting story, and I'm happy to be in the middle of discovering it.  

I can't say it's over just yet!   

Thanks for joining me today!  Best wishes and many inspiring moments to you all!


P.S.   Please share if you've seen Le Notre's work at Versailles or elsewhere!   ....Or let us know if you prefer to read a book or watch a movie adaptation first!   ...Let us know if you love gardening!  Heck,... whatever!    

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Cover Images from Amazon.com website.

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