Europe->France->Île-de-France, Région->Vaux-le-Vicomte, Château de
The gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte were the first great work of André Le Nôtre. One of the objects of his extensive layout was to present a number of 'pictures' of the house. In his own plan of the gardens he showed the avenue running north from the entrance gates to a rond-point, from which only the central block of the château is visible. This avenue is intersected by another at exactly the point at which not only the château but also its flanking archways are included in the picture. The underlying principles of the layout were that the formality of the château required a corresponding formality in its immediate surroundings and that the landscape should be the creation of human reason, making use of all that perspective, proportion and a subtle touch of optical illusion could confer. Le Nôtre built his design along a central axis 800 m long from the windows of the Salon to the once-gilded colossal copy of the Farnese Hercules by Michel Anguier, which marks the horizon to the south. Anguier was the major provider of outdoor sculpture at Vaux-le-Vicomte.