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Related: heaven - Paradise Garage (nightclub) - utopia - Artifical Paradises (1860)

Paradise (ca. 1620) - Jan Bruegel


Place types commonly known by analogy as paradise include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise [Mar 2005]

Darius the Great was said to have had a "paradise garden" and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were renowned as a Wonder of the World. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_gardening [Mar 2006]

See also: 1600s - fantasy - happiness - ideal - utopia - pastoral - landscape


Et in Arcadia Ego (1618-22) - Guercino
Oil on canvas, 82 x 91 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

Arcadia was a province of ancient Greece. It has become a poetical name for fantasy land (having more or less the same connotation as Utopia), a concept originating in Renaissance mythology of a land of outstanding natural beauty unspoiled by human civilisation, free of war & pain and offering boundless pleasures both spiritual and physical. It is also sometimes referred to in English poetry as Arcady. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcadia_%28paradise%29 [Mar 2005]

The historical Arcadia
According to Greek mythology, Arcadia of Peloponnesus was the domain of Pan, the virgin wilderness home of the god of the forest and his court of dryads, nymphs and other spirits of nature. It was a version of paradise, though only in the sense of being the abode of supernatural entities, not an afterlife for deceased mortals.

Arcadia has remained a popular artistic subject since antiquity, both in visual arts and literature. Images of beautiful nymphs frolicking in lush forests have been a frequent source of inspiration for painters and sculptors. Greek mythology inspired the Roman poet Virgil to write his Eclogues, a series of poems set in Arcadia. As a result of the influence of Virgil in medieval European literature (see, for example, The Divine Comedy), Arcadia became a symbol of pastoral simplicity. European Renaissance writers (for instance, the Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega) often revisited the theme, and the name came to apply to any idyllic location or paradise. Unlike the word "utopia" (named for Thomas More's book, Utopia), "Arcadia" does not carry the connotation of a human-designed civilization.

Of particular note is Et in Arcadia ego by Nicholas Poussin, which has become famous both in its own right and because of its (possible) connection with the gnostic histories of the Rosicrucians. In 1502 Jacopo Sannazaro published his long poem Arcadia that fixed the Early Modern perception of Arcadia as a lost world of idyllic bliss, remembered in regretful dirges. The play A Midsummer's Night Dream by William Shakespeare is set within an Arcadian realm ruled by a fairy king and queen. In the 1590s Sir Philip Sidney circulated copies of his influential heroic romance poem The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia establishing Arcadia as an icon of the Renaissance. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcadia_%28utopia%29 [Mar 2006]

Et in Arcadia Ego
The phrase Et in Arcadia Ego is a memento mori, which is usually interpreted to mean "I am also in Arcadia" or "I am even in Arcadia", as if spoken by personified Death. However, Poussin's biographer Andre Felibien interpreted it to mean that "the person buried in this tomb has lived in Arcadia"; in other words, that they too once enjoyed the pleasures of life on earth. The former interpretation is generally considered to be more likely. Either way, the sentiment was meant to set up an ironic contrast by casting the shadow of death over the usual idle merriment that the nymphs and swains of ancient Arcadia were thought to embody. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Et_in_Arcadia_ego [Mar 2006]

See also: fantasy - happiness - ideal - utopia - pastoral - landscape

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