Art Friday: Giuseppe Arcimbolde

Fruit Basket
Artist: Giuseppe Archimbolde


1527 - 1593

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born in Milan in 1527, his father was also a painter.  Early in his career he was commissioned to do stained glass window designs beginning in 1549, including the Stories of St. Catherine of Alexandria vitrage at the Duomo. In 1556 he worked with Giuseppe Meda on frescoes for the Cathedral of Monza. In 1558, he drew the cartoon for a large tapestry of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, which still hangs in the Como Cathedral today. In 1562 he became court portraitist to Ferdinand I at the Habsburg court in Vienna, and later, to Maximilian II and his son Rudolf II at the court in Prague. He was also the court decorator and costume designer. King Augustus of Saxony, who visited Vienna in 1570 and 1573, saw Arcimboldo's work and commissioned a copy of his "The Four Seasons" which incorporates his own monarchic symbols.

Arcimboldo's conventional work, on traditional religious subjects, has fallen into oblivion, but his portraits of human heads made up of vegetables, fruit and tree roots, were greatly admired by his contemporaries and remain a source of fascination today. Art critics debate whether these paintings were whimsical or the product of a deranged mind. A majority of scholars hold to the view, however, that given the Renaissance fascination with riddles, puzzles, and the bizarre, Arcimboldo, far from being mentally imbalanced, catered to the taste of his times.

Source: link

The Librarian
The seated figure of summer
The Admiral
The cook
The water, the water
Fruit in a bowl or the gardener
What do you think? And you thought Mr Potato Head was some new idea!!!


  1. It is truly amazing that this man produced these works so long ago.
    I enjoyed showing this to my children this morning, of course they were fascinated.
    thank you for sharing.
    blessings Nell

  2. I am very surprised at the year these were painted. I thought to myself, Salvador Dali, and Escher you just took at 16th century artist and vaguely enhanced same for your similar works...

  3. I don't know about a deranged mind..they look like the product of a fantastic imagination a strong sense of humour to me!
    They are very clever, that's for sure!

  4. I don't know, Jo... They are just NOT attractive, in my humble opinion!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Its an art class opportunity - get the children to draw their own vegetable head!! What fun you will all have :)))

  5. He was precursor of Picasso and other cubists... Very original paintings!

  6. I remember seeing some of these, but I certainly had not seen all of these! Aren't they interesting? Some of those are rather creepy looking, especially with the animals...

    1. The cook and Winter don't look at all friendly! But so cleverly done:)

  7. These painting are very different and well done but I couldn't live in the same room as them, they don't promote relaxation.

    1. No, I wouldn't want any of these in my home, they aren't very attractive at all, but interesting never-the-less!

  8. hmmm, not sure I like this one Jo! I guess art is subjective isn't it:)

    1. SOme I don't mind, but others are quite ugly - but very interesting considering when they were done!! As I said to Merle, I wouldn't want them in my home!!


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