TerritorialMale Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an eccentric Italian painter. He was born into an affluent family which included an archbishop for a grandfather. He is famously known for his bizarre portraits of people expressed through common objects such as books, fruits and vegetables, pots and pans and fish and meat. Quite unlike many others of his ilk, (who suffered for their odd ways), he found doting patrons in the Hapsburg imperial courts of those days. While others would have paid with their heads for depicting royalty so weirdly, Ferdinand I, Maximilian II and Rudolf II, all enjoyed his paintings. Lucky for him, his kings knew how to take jokes.
Master of optical illusions, this is how he painted the Green Grocer
and this is how we better understand
Perhaps his most famous work is the portrait of Rudolph II.
Arcimboldo also categorized his portraits into Spring, Summer and Autumn depicted by flowers, summer fruits, autumn fruits and branches and leaves respectively for each season. Rudolph II is represented using the fruits and flowers of all seasons representing harmony.
Such art is also known as metamorphic art. Wikimedia has a lovely collection of his paintings.
Portrait of Eccentricity: Arcimboldo and the Mannerist Grotesque