Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s wonderfully bizarre blendings of nature and humankind, incorporating natural forms like vegetables, twigs and leaves as well as fish and other small animals in the representation of human faces, can still “turn heads” today, as they must have in the 16th Century.
Largely forgotten shortly after his death and re-discovered in the 20th Century, Arcimboldo is the subject of a new exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy includes sixteen examples of his work, seen here in the U.S. for the first time. The exhibition also includes drawings by Da Vinci and Durer, along with other works intended to provide context for the paintings.
His hallucinatory arrangements of images within a larger image delighted the Surrealists, who saw in him a precursor to their dream inspired visions. His “still life” paintings (done at a time when still life was not an accepted genre) that only revealed their human face when inverted, have entered pop culture in the form of countless “optical illusion” variations on the theme.
The National Gallery has provided a very nice PDF Exhibition Brochure, that can be downloaded from the right hand column of the exhibition page, as well as a short video.
Arcimboldo, 1526-1593: Nature and Fantasy will be on view until January 9, 2011.
For more, see my previous post on Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
[Via Art Daily]