Grotto/dripstone wall plaque, Wallenstein Palace Garden, Prague
Plaque explaining the dripstone wall in the Wallenstein Palace Garden. It reads:
The Grotto (Dripstone wall)
The garden built by Albrecht of Wallenstein was divided into several major parts. The part whose most important element is the artificial rock or dripstone wall was called the secret or secluded garden (giordino secreto or giardino segreto). This section created a secretive and mysterious area where elements of artificial and real living nature mingled and contrasted, where the feeling of uncertainty was heightened by the starting images of frogs, snakes, monsters and grotesquely formed faces and various kinds of animals hidden in the recesses of the dripstone wall. The illusion of mystery and uncertainty is further enhanced by the numerous illusionary hints suggesting the wall might be penetrable by secret corridors or passageways. The artificial rock fits in naturally with the aviary, which also lends an important acoustic feature to the garden. All these—the joining of real living and artificial nature, the juxtaposition of contrasts, the creation of illusion and the placement of bizarre details—are stylistic and creative principles of the mannerist or early baroque garden conceived on the model of Italian gardens.