Giuseppe Arcimboldo Biography | Oil Paintings
1-16-1527 Milan, ITA – 7-11-1593 Milan, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Giuseppe Arcimboldo began his artistic career by working on the stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Milan. In 1583 the Emperor Rudolf II moved the capital of the empire from Vienna to Prague, which became the cultural center of northern and central Europe and under Charles V, became for a time the center of the Holy Roman Empire.
Here Giuseppe Arcimboldo was employed by the Hapsburg rulers as an architect of the civic water works among other public projects, impresario of state occasions, curator of the imperial art collection and interior designer.
The bizarre Genius of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
It was in Prague that he painted the works on which his reputation now rests. In 1591 he painted the portrait of Rudolf II, he portrays the emperor, a passionate lover of alchemy and scientific experiments, as the mythological deity Vertumnus, who was able to transform himself into various elements of nature. The extraordinary head is a virtuoso creation of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The painting was originally at the center of a complex composition that included eight other works by Arcimboldo depicting the four seasons of the year and the four elements, here Rudolf II becomes the focal point of a wonderful allegory of an artificial world. Truly amazing, these works are centuries ahead of their time and remain a source of fascination today. Look at The Vegetable Gardener and Vegetables in a Bowl and The Cook and The Cooked these extraordinary paintings are totally different when turned upside down, they are the same paintings.
Surrealism 300 years before Surrealism.
In the portrait now represented by several copies called The Librarian, (shown below) Arcimboldo used objects that signified the book culture at that time, such as the curtain that created individual study rooms in a library. The animal tails, which became the beard of the portrait, were used as dusters. By using everyday objects, the portraits were decoration and still-life paintings at the same time
Arcimboldo in his exploration of human portraits composed of non-human and inanimate objects he was far ahead of his time, anticipating Surrealists by several centuries. His fantastic heads symbolizing the four seasons were made up of pieces of landscape, flowers, vegetables and animals, even pots and pans and other mundane articles from everyday life, all executed in brilliant colors with an extraordinary attention to detail.
The bizarre artworks of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, especially his multiple images and visual puns, were rediscovered in the early 20th century by Surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí.
Art Movement History: Mannerism, Surrealism.
Artists Influencing Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Stained glass.
He Traveled To Czech.
Painters Giuseppe Arcimboldo Influenced: Shigeo Fukuda, Istvan Orosz, Octavio Ocampo, Sandro del Prete, Salvador Dalí.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.