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2017 Sintra Parque de Monserrate Kugelpa

Research on PANORAMA & 360°








The exhibition cycle VISUAL AXES / SICHTACHSEN consists so far of six exhibitions,

which investigate the immersiveness of the photographic still image - in large-format

panoramic shots (100 x 506 cm / 100 x 1012 cm) up to 360° panoramas and

implementation as VR action background.




November 16th 2017 – January 24th 2018


Mainz University of Applied Sciences – Campus Magistrale

Lucy-Hillebrand-Strasse 2 55126 Mainz Germany


Exhibition Design:

Dipl.-Des. Manfred Liedtke

Dipl.-Des. Uwe Zentgraf


Backlit Print 100 x 253cm / 100 x 506cm

I    Tropical garden with palm trees

II   Pandanus (screw palm) and palm ferns

III  The Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsus), the New Zealand Christmas tree

IV  The fern valley, very large tree ferns in an unusual microclimate.

V    The chapel, built as an artificial ruin by Francis Cook near the original chapel "Our Lady of Monserrate" by Gerard de Visme.

VI  The artificial ruin from inside, overlooked by an Australian Banyan tree.

VII  Butterfly ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum), a tropical Asian plant, thrives in the special microclimate of the fern valley.

VIII Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsus), Christmas tree on the western side of the Monserrate Palace

IX   Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, Porto 

I    Tropical garden with palm trees


To the north of Lisbon, the Serra de Sintra rises and provides a special microclimate. The mountain range, which rises up to 529 metres - the Romans called it "Mountain of the Moon" - extends to the Atlantic Ocean and has its foothills at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. Paths of altitude and climate made Pena and Sintra the summer residence of kings. Monserrate was originally the name of a small chapel built around 1540 near Sintra. Gaspar Preto, the chaplain of the Hospital de Todos-os-Santos in Lisbon, had returned from a pilgrimage from the Benedictine monastery of Monserrate in Catalonia. There he had seen the Black Madonna, a 12th century image of grace carved from olive wood, whose surface had been tanned almost black by time and weather. Enchanted by this statue, he decided to reproduce it and to have a small chapel built in her honour on the land near Sintra.

The chapel and the land were named Monserrate. This small church was venerated as a place of pilgrimage until the 18th century. After the disappearance of the Madonna figure, it was more and more forgotten and finally fell into disrepair. In 1718 Dom Caetano Mello e Castro, viceroy of India, bought the magnificent property. He died the same year in Goa, India, but the property remained in his family. In 1785 it was sold to the English merchant Gerard de Visme. The chapel and other buildings of the Mello e Castro family were completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755 and de Visme had a neo-Gothic palace built on the site of the chapel of the Blessed Virgin of Monserrate build. After only two years de Visme left Portugal in 1792 for health reasons. William Beckford, in his time one of the richest men in England, became the new designer of the estate. In 1794 he designed the gardens of Monserrate, an artificial waterfall, the "Beckford Fall", and the entrance gate of the park that appeared to be on the verge of collapse. Beckford wanted to give the park a mystical touch. The bumpy paths had to be cleared first to finally get a glimpse of the magnificent palace. Beckford left Portugal in 1799 after five years - and Monserrate was left to decay.


Lord Byron visited the park and palace in 1809 and wrote: "One wanders through rampant bushes and finds a palace with empty halls and shutters left open." He describes it as "one of the most beautiful places I have seen to this day - a second Garden of Eden." Monserrate gained new life in 1856 when the English textile millionaire Francis Cook bought it from the Mello e Castro family. In Victorian times, these gardens were among the most beautiful and exotic in the world. It was also at this time that a new ruined chapel was built in the park in honour of the Virgin of Monserrate, reminiscent of a knights' fortress. Cook fitted it with Etruscan sarcophagi to give it a more sublime appearance. At the centre of this garden, in a protected warm valley, lies the tropical garden with palm trees, pandanus (screw palm) and palm ferns. The Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsus), the New Zealand Christmas tree at the head of the palace, forms aerial roots to support its treetops. When the aerial roots have reached the ground, they develop into further branches, which is why the trunks of these trees are so strongly branched. The Valley of the Treeferns is another legacy of Francis Cook. A deep moist depression, crossed by a network of paths between steep terraced slopes, has been replanted with hundreds of Australian fern trees. The romantic Monserrate, created by Sir Francis Cook, was designed as a large "greenhouse outdoors". The scale of the plant collections was easily matched by the palm trees, fern trees and palm ferns in the crystal palaces of the botanical gardens of London, Frankfurt and Paris. Until twenty years ago, the palace and gardens were in a state of decay before restoration work began. Monserrate is part of the Sintra cultural landscape, which is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

II   Pandanus (screw palm) and palm ferns

III  The Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsus), the New Zealand Christmas tree