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Lodewijk Toeput (c. 1550-c. 1605)

Pleasure Garden with a Maze c. 1579-1584

RCIN 402610

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A gondola on the right, and the recognisable architecture of Piazza San Marco in the distance, establish the setting for this fantastical island maze as Venice. Although the scene appears imaginary, hedge mazes had become an established feature of the Italian Renaissance garden by the late sixteenth century, and were a popular form of courtly diversion and entertainment. Here, the maze is the setting for feasting and frolicking. These activities hint at the allegorical message of the painting, which warns that it can be as difficult to escape from the ensnaring pleasures of the senses as to find the path out of a maze.